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The attempt to write this commentary has been made 
under impulses given, in the one case consciously, in the 
other not, by two friends. For some years, Bishop Lloyd 
of Newcastle-on-Tyne, whose loss we are still deeply 
lamenting, had been urging the writer to do something 
of the kind; and one of the latest letters received from 
him, — a letter written shortly before his death, expressed 
delight that this volume was progressing. And it was the 
writer's privilege to take a very small, part in the produc- 
tion of the invaluable work on this Gospel by the Rev. 
W. C. Allen in the International Critical Commentary 
published by Messrs. T. & T. Clark. To share in that 
work was to be inspired to continue it 

This volume, therefore, has two aims over and above 
the desire to do something in accordance with Bishop 
Lloyd's earnest wishes. On the one hand, this sequel to 
Mr. Allen's commentary has for its object to call the 
attention of some who do not already know it to a book 
^ which Leaflet 31 of the Central Society of Sacred Study 

(July 1907) pronounces to be "the best English com- 
mentary on the first Gospel " (p. 5), and of which reviewers 
^ have said much the same. On the other hand, this 

* volume aims at supplementing the earlier one. A re- 

viewer in the Guardian doubted whether Mr. Allen " was 
well advised to restrict himself so rigidly to questions of 
!:i, literary, as distinct from historical — not to say theological 

^ and religious — interest." How well he would have dealt 

^ VII 


with the historical, theological, and religrious sides of his 
subject is shown in those places in which he somewhat 
transgresses his self-imposed limits. But there can be no 
doubt that his desire to do the critical and literary part of 
the work (which was the part most needed) with thorough- 
ness has caused him to omit a good deal that his readers 
would have been glad to have from him. To supply, if 
possible, some of the elements which he has passed by, 
or has treated very briefly, is another of the aims of this 

The works to which this commentary is indebted are 
numerous. A list of some of them is ^ven below, partly 
as an expression of g^titude, partly as some help to 
others who desire to labour in the same field. An asterisk 
indicates that the writer's debt is large, and that others 
may expect to find much to aid them. For further 
information the list of works in the writer's International 
Critical Commentary on St. Luke^ pp. Ixxx-lxxxviii, 577- 
580, may be consulted. 

Abbott, £. A. . Paradosis^ London, 1904. 

Johannine Vocabulary^ 1905* 
*Johannine Grammar^ 1906. 
Alexander, W. M. Demonic Possession in the New Testament^ 

Edinburgh, 1902. 
Allen, W. C. . . *A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the 

Gospel according to St. Matthew^ Edinbuigh, 
Briggs, C A. . '^The Messiah of the Gospels^ Edinburgh, 1894. 

New Light on the Life of Jesus^ Edinburgh, 

The Ethical Teaching of Jesus, New York, 

Criticism and the Dogma of the Virgin Birth 
(N. Amer. Rev., June 1906).^ 
Bruce, A. B. • • The Synoptic Gospels (The Expositor's Greek 

Testament), London, 1897. 
Burkitt, F. C • *Evangeiion Da- Mepharreshe, Cambridge, 

Tfu Gospel History and its Transmission, 
Edinburgh, 1906. 

* This vmlnable essay has lieen published separately. Scribner, 1909. 



Burton and 

Charles, R. H. . 

Dalman, G. . . 
Deissmann, G. A. 

Donehoo, J. de Q. 

Girodon, P. . . 
Godet, F. . 
Gorej C* • • • 

Gould, E. P. . . 

Gregory, C. R. . 

Grenfell and 

Hamack, A. . . 

Harris, J. Rendel 
Hastings, J. . . 

Constructive Studies in the Zdfi of Christy 

The Book of Enochs Oxford, 1893. 
The Apocalypse of Baruch^ London, 1896. 
The Assumption of Moses ^ London, 1897. 
The Ascension of Isaiah, London, 1900. 
The Book of Jubilees, London, 1902. 
*The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, 

translated from the Greek, London, 1908. 
*The Greek Versions of the Tlsstaments of the 

Twelve Patriarchs, Oxford, 1908. 
*The Words of Jesus, Edinburgh, 1902. 
'^^ Bible Studies, Edinburgh, 1903. 
The Philology of the Greek Bible, London, 

New Light on the New Testament, Edinburgh, 

The Apocryphal and Legendary Life of Christ, 

New York, 1903. 
Encyclopedia Biblica, London, 1 899-1 903. 
Commentaire critique et moral sur f Avangile 

selon Saint Luc, Paris, 1903. 
Introduction au Nouveau Testament, Neuchatel, 

The Incarnation of the Son of God (The 

Hampton Lectures, 1891), London, 1891. 

* Dissertations on Subjects connected with the 

Incarnation, London, 1895. 
JTie New Theology and the Old Religion, 

London, 1907. 
A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the 

Gospel according to St. Mark, Edinburgh, 

Canon and Text of the New Testament, 

Edinburgh, 1907. 
Sayings of our Lord from an early Greek 

Papyrus, London, 1897. 
New Sayings ofjesus, London, 1904. 
Die Chronologic der altchristlichen Literatur 

bis Emebius, Leipzig, 1897. 
*The Sayings of Jesus, the Second Source of 

St, Matthew and St Luke, London, 1908. 
The Newly Recovered Gospel of St. Peter, 

l^ndon, 1893. 

* Dictionary of the Bible, Edinburgh, 1898- 

1902, with Extra Volume, 1904. 


Hastings, J. . . 

Hawkins, Sir J. C. 
Herford, R. T. . 

Holtzmann, H. J. 

Holtzmann, O. . 
Hort, F. J. A. . 

Jiilicher, A. . . 

Kennedy, H. A. 

Klostermann, E. 

Knowling, R. J. 
LADgi C. G. . 

Lock and Sanday 

Mackinlay, G. . 

Madaren, A. 

Moulton, J. H. . 

Moulton, R. G. . 
Nicholson, E. B. 

Oxford Society 
of Historical 

Plummer, A. . . 

'^DicHanary of Christ and the Gospels^ 1900- 

*Hor<B Synoptiaty Oxford, 1899; anded. 1909 
Christianity in Talmud and Midrash^ London, 

Einieitung in das Neue Testament^ Freiburg i. 

B., 1892. 
The Life of JesuSy London, 1904. 
*Judaistic Christianity, London, 1894. 
*The Christian EccUsia, London, 1897. 
An Introduction to the New Testament, 

London, 1904. 
Sourees of New Testament Greek, Edinburgh, 

Handbuch zum Neuen Testament; Markus, 

Tiibingen, 1907. 
Our Lord's Virgin Birth, London, 1907. 
Thoughts on Some of the Parables of Jesus, 

London, 1906. 
T\oo Lectures on the Sayings of Jesus re- 
cently discovered at Oxyrynchus, Oxford, 

The Magi, How they recognised Christ s Star, 

London, 1907. 
*The Gospel according to St, Matthew, 

London, 1905, 1906. 
"^A Grammar of New Testament Greek, 

Edinburgh, 1906. 
The Modem Readef^s Bible, London, 1907. 
The Gospel according to the Hebrews, London, 

The Gospel according to St, Matthew^ London, 

The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, 

Oxford, 1905. 

A Critical and ExegeticcU Commentary on the 
Gospel according to St. Luke, Edinburgh, 

Polano, H. . . 7he Talmud (The Chandos Classics), 

Tendon, n.d. 
Das Kindheits Evangelium ('lexte und 
Untersuchungen, x. 5), Leipzig, 1897. 
*Agrapha, Aussercanonische Schriftfragmente 
(Texte und Untersuchungen, NF. xv. 3, 4), 
Leipzig, 1906. 

Resch, A. 



Robinson, J. A. . 

Salmon, G. 


• • 

Sanday, W. . . 

Schurer, £. . . 

Smith, D. . . . 

Steinbeck, J. . . 
Swete, H. B.. . 

Taylor, C. . . 

Wellhausen • . 

Wright, A. . . 

Zahii| X. • • • 

Tke historical Character of St John^s Gospel^ 

London, 1908. 
The Gospel according to Peter ^ London, 1892. 

*The Human Element in the Gospels^ London, 

* Inspiration (The Bampton Lectures, 1893), 

London, 1893. 
Sacred Sites of the Gospel^ Oxford, 1903. 
The Criticism of the J^ourth Gospely Oxford, 

^Outlines of the Life of Christy Edinburgh, 


*The Life of Christ in Recent Research^ Oxford, 


* History of the Jewish People in the Time of 

Jesus Christy Edinburgh, 1885-1890. 
*Geschichte des Jiidischen Volkes im Zeitalter 
Jesu Christi; dritte Auflage, Leipzig, 1898. 
The Gospel according to St, Matthew (The 
Westminster New Testament), London, 
*Das gottliche Selbstbewusstsein Jesu nach dem 
Zeugnis der Synoptiker^ Leipzig, 1908. 
The Akhmtm Fragment of the Apocryphcu 
Gospel of St. Peter^ London, 1893. 
*The Gospel according to St. Mark, London, 

* 2^ Appearances of our Lard after the Pcusion^ 

London, 1907. 

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers comprising 
Pirqe Aboth in Hebrew and English^ 
Cambridge, 1897. 

Das Evangelium Matthaei^ Berlin, 1904. 
^Synopsis qjf the Gospels in Greeks London, 

Einleitung in das Neue Testament^ Leipzig, 

'^Das Evangelium des Maithaus^ Leipzig, 1903. 

Introduction to the New Testament^ Edin- 
burgh, 1909. 

'^The Journal of Theological Studies^ London 
and Oxford, 1 899-1 909. 


Since this commentary was printed, several works of great 
importance have been published. Dr. Stanton has given us 
Tke Synoptic Gospels, being Part II. of his very valuable dis- 
cussion of TAe Gospels as Ifistorical Documents (Cambridge 
Press). A great many of his conclusions confirm views that are 
advocated in this volume. He is, however, not quite accurate 
in stating (p. i8) that the Oral Theory is adopted in the com- 
mentary on St. Luke in the International series : see p. xxiii in 
that volume. What was doubted there, and is doubted still by 
Dr. Stanton himself, is whether St Luke can have had the Second 
Gospel in as full a form as that in which we possess it. Several 
of the Cambridge Bibliccd Essays, edited by Dr. Swete, contain 
a great deal that is most instructive to students of the first three 
Gospels. The same may be said in a still higher d^ree of the 
very remarkable commentary on The Synoptic Gospels by the 
Jewish scholar C. G. Montefiore (Macmillan). Some things in 
it a Christian must read with dissent, if not with distress ; but 
there are many generous tributes to the character and teaching 
of Jesus of Nazareth, and also to the immense influence for good 
which the Gospels have had upon European society for nineteen 
centuries. References to all three of these works have been 
inserted in the present edition. 

Moreover, a second and enlarged edition of Sir John Hawkins' 
invaluable Hora Synoptica has appeared. The references to the 
first edition in this commentary (pp. xxiii, 23, 89, 120, 141) may 
be corrected to the second edition, as follows: p. 131 « p. 163; 

pp. 174* I7S-PP- 2iOi 2"^ P- 4i"=p. S3; P- i32=P- 165; 
p. 174 » p. 210. 

Those who desire a small commentary on St. Matthew will 
find the recent one by E. E. Anderson (T. & T. Clark) helpful. 

The essay of Professor S. L. Tyson on The Teaching of our 
Lard as to the Indissolubility of Marriage (University Press, 
Sewanee) may be read in connexion with what is urged in this 
commentary, pp. 81, 82, 259-261. 





§ I. The Author . • • • 

§2. The Sources .... 

1 3. Plan of the Gospel . 

§4-. The Christology of the First Gospel 

§5. The Date .... 

16. "The Testaments of the Twelve Pat 

riarchs" and their Relation to the 

First Gospel 


The Birth and Infancy of the Messiah 

The Preparation for the Ministry . 

The Ministry in Galilee 

The Ministry in or near Galilee 

The Journey through Per^ea to Jerusalem 

The Last Work in the Holy City 

The Passion, Death, and Resurrection 

INDEXES . . ... 

I. General • « . • . 

II. Greek • • . • « 



• • 



• • • 














The Author. 

Ik no case is the title to a book of the New Testament part 
of the original document It was in all cases added by a 
copyist, and perhaps not by the first copyist Moreover, in all 
cases it varies considerably in form, the simplest forms being the 
earliest The "according to" nei^er affirms nor denies author- 
ship ; it implies conformity to a type^ and need not mean more 
than '' drawn up according to the teaching of." But it is certain 
that the Christians of the first four centuries who gave these titles 
to the Gospels meant more than this : they believed, and meant 
to express, that each Gospel was written by the person whose 
name it bears. They used this mode of expression, rather than 
the genitive case used of the Epistles, to intimate that the same 
subject had been treated of by others ; and they often emphasized 
the oneness of the subject by speaking of " the Gospel " rather 
than "the Gospels." This mode of expression is accurate; 
there is only one Gospel, 'the Gospel of God' (Rom. i. i) 
concerning His Son. But it has been given us in four shapes 
(ciayycXioK rerpofiop^ov, Iren. III. xL 8^, and "according to" 
indicates the shape given to it by the wnter named. 

Was the belief of the first Christians who adopted these 
titles correct ? Were the Gospels written by the persons whose 
names they bear ? With the trifling exception of a few passages, 
we may believe this with regard to the Second, Third, and Fourth 
Gospels : but it is very difficult to believe this with regard to the 
First, the authorship of which is a complicated problem not yet 
adequately solved. But the following results may be accepted 
as probable, and some of them as very probable. 

Ancient testimony in favour of Matthew being the author is 
very strong. It begins with Papias and Irenseus in the second 
centuiyy and is confirmed by Origen in the third and Eusebius 
in the fourth,^ not to mention a number of other early vnriters, 

1 Eusebius, H, E. iii. 39, v. 8, vi. 25, iii. 24, v. xa 

• « •• 


whose evidence repeats, or is in harmony with, these four. 
Papias speaks of " the oracles " or " utterances " (ra A^ta) which 
Matthew composed; the other three speak of his "Gospel'' 
{cuayyiKiov). Assuming that the two expressions are equivalent, 
the testimony is uniform that the First Gospel was written in 
Hebrew by Matthew, the tax-collector and Apostle. In that 
case the Greek Gospel which has come down to us must be a 
translation from this " Hebrew " original^ 

But the First Gospel is evidently nQt a translation, and it is 
difficult to believe that it is the work of the Apostle. Whoever 
wrote it took the Second Gospel as a frame,^ and worked into it 
much material from other sources. And he took, not only the 
substance of the Second Gospel, but the Greek phraseology of it, 
showing clearly that he worked in Greek. It is incredible that 
he translated the Greek of Mark into Hebrew, and that then 
some one translated Matthew's Hebrew back into Greek that is 
almost the same as Mark's. The retranslation would have 
resulted in very different Greek.* And it is not likely that the 
Apostle Matthew, with first-hand knowledge of his own, would 
take the Gospel of another, and that other not an Apostle, as the 
framework of his own Gospel. There would seem, therefore, to 
be some error in the early tradition about the First Gospel. 

Very possibly the Aoyca of Papias should not be interpreted 
as meaning the whole of the First Gospel, but only one of its 
elements, viz. a collection of facts respecting Jesus Christ, chiefly 
consisting of His utterances, and the circumstances in which they 
were spoken. The expression, ra Aoyta, would fitly describe a 
document largely made up of discourses and parables. That 
such a document is one main element in both the First and 
the Third Gospels, may be regarded as certain, and it may have 
been written originally in Hebrew by S. Matthew.* 

^ The subscriptions of certain cursives state that the Hebrew Matthew was 
translated into Greek ** by John,** or " by James," or " by James the brother 
of the Lord," or "by Bartholomew." Zahn, Einleitung in das NT, ii. 
p. 267. 

> « The main common source of the Synoptic Gospels was a single written 
document'' (Burkitt, TJu Gosp, Hist, and its Transmission, p. 34). <* Mk. 
contains the whole of a document which Mt. and Lk. independently used " 
{ibid,j>. 37). 

' llie reader will find a good illustration of this in Duggan's translation of 
Jacquier's History of the Books of the New Testament, pp. 35, 127. Jacauier 
translated passages from English into French. Duggan translates them back 
into English, and his English is surprisingly unlike the originals. 

^''Hebrew" in this connexion must mean the Animaic which Christ 
Himself spoke. It is scarcely credible that any one would translate the words 
of Christ mto the .Hebrew of the O.T., which was intelligible to none but the 

The collection of Utterances often spoken of as "the Logia" is now 
frequently denoted by the symbol ** Q." 


When the unknown constructor of the First Gospel took the 
Second Gospel and fitted on to it the contents of this collection 
of Utterances, together with other material of his own gathering, 
he produced a work which was at once welcomed by the first 
Christians as much more complete than the Second Gospel, and 
yet not the same as the Third, if that was already in existence. 
What was this Gospel to be called ? It was based on Mark ; 
but to have called it " according to Mark " would have caused 
confusion, for that title was already appropriated. It would be 
better to name it after the other main element used in its con- 
struction, a translation of S. Matthew's collection of Utterances. 
In this way we get an explanation of the statement of Papias, 
that " Matthew composed the Utterances in Hebrew, and each 
man interpreted them as he was able," a statement which seems 
to be quite accurate. We also get an explanation of the later 
and less accurate statements of Irenseus, Origen, and Eusebius, 
which seem to refer to our First Gospel as a whole ; viz. that 
Matthew wrote it in Hebrew. It was known that Matthew had 
written a Gospel of some kind in Hebrew : the First Gospel, as 
known to Irenseus, was called " according to Matthew" ; and hence 
the natural inference that it had been written in Hebrew. There 
was a Gospel cucarding to the Hebrews^ which Jerome had trans- 
lated into Greek and Latin, and from which he makes quotations. 
A Jewish Christian sect called Nazarenes used this Gospel, and 
said that it was by S. Matthew. It was Aramaic, written 
in Hebrew characters. We do not know enough of it to be 
certain; but it also may have contained a good many of the 
Utterances collected by Matthew, and for this reason may have 
been attributed as a whole to him. It seems to have been very 
inferior to our First Gospel, and this would lead to its being 
allowed to perish. See Hastings' DB, extra vol. pp. 338 f. 

Dr. C. R. Gregory {Canon and Text of the New Testament, pp. 245 ff.) 
writes thus of the Gospel according to the Hebrews. '* One booK that now 
seems to stand very near to the Gospels, and again moves further away from 
them, demands particular attention. But we shall scarcely reach any very 
definite conclusion about it. It is like an ignis fatuus in the literature of the 
Church of the first three centuries. We cannot even tell from the statements 
about it precisely who, of the writers who refer to it, really saw it. Yes, we 
are even not sure that it is not kaleidoscopic or plural. It may be that 
several, or at least two, different books are referred to, and that even by 
people who fancy that there is but one book, and that they know it. . . . 
Notning would be easier for any one or every one who saw, read, or heard oif 
that book to call it the Gospel to the Hebrews, the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, or the Hebrews' Gospel. . . . We shall doubtless some day receive 
a copy of it in the original, or in a translation. It may have contained much 
of what Matthew, Mark, and Luke contain, without that fact having been 
brought to our notice in the quotations made fi'om it. For those who quoted 
it did so precisely in order to give that which varied from the contents of our 
four GospelSy or especially of the three synoptic ones." The origin of this 


perplexing document must be placed early. After Matthew and Luke became 
well known a Gospel covering much the same ground would hardly have been 
written. E. B. Nicholson has collected and annotated the quotations from it , 
R. Handmann, in Texte und UniersuchungeHf 1888, has done the same. See 
also Mgr. A. S. Barnes, ySwr. ofTk, 5/., April 1905. 

The collection of Utterances made by Matthew and used by 
the compiler of the First Gospel, and the similar collection used 
by Luke, were not such as we might have expected. The 
selection was determined by the needs and hopes of the first 
Christians, who wanted moral guidance for the present and 
revelation as to the future. Hence the sayings of Christ pre- 
served in the Synoptic Gospels are largely of either a moral or 
an apocalyptic character.^ Utterances which seemed to teach 
principles of conduct, and prophecies or parables respecting the 
Coming and the Kingdom were specially treasured. Some of 
them were misunderstood at the time, and some appear to have 
been misreported, either from the first or in repeated transmis- 
sion ; but the result is a body of doctrine, of marvellous unity 
and adaptability, the great bulk of which must be faithfully 
reported, because it is inconceivable that the Evangelists or their 
informants can have invented such things. It is evident that 
these informants, in the last resort, are the memories of the first 
body of disciples, who, happily for us, were sometimes stronger 
in memory than in understanding. They remembered what per- 
plexed them, ^cause it perplexed them; and they reported it 
faithfully. That a collection of sayings and narratives was made 
during our Lord's lifetime, as Salmon {The Human Element in 
the GospelSy p. 275) and Ramsay {Expositor^ 19079 p- 424) 
suppose, is scarcely probable (Sanday, The Life of Christ in 
Recent Research^ p. 172). 

The answer, therefore, to the question, Who was the author 
of the First Gospel ? is a negative one. It was not S. Matthew. 
The writer was an early Jewish Christian, not sufficiently import- 
ant to give his name to a Gospel, and in no way de>iring to do 
so. But he used a great deal of material which was probably 
collected by S. Matthew, whose name thus became connected 
with the First Gospel as we have it' That it is in no sense the 
work of S. Matthew is not probable. Some more conspicuous 
Apostle than the toll-collector would have been chosen, if the 
title had no better basis than the desire to give a distinguished 
name to a nameless document Andrew, or James the son of 

' J. R. Ropes, The Apostolic Age^ p. 222. There b good reason for 
believinK that there existed a written collection of savings which had the 
definite title A670C roO ttvpiioy 'li|0'ov, to which reference is made Acts xx. 35 ; 
also in Clem. Rom. Cor, xiii., xlvi. ; and in Polycarp, iL See Harsack, The 
Sayings ofjesus^ pp. 1 87- 1 89. 

' See Briggs, The Ethical Teaching offesus^ pp. 2, 3, 2a 


Zebedee, or Philip would have been preferred. And the writer 
has given us '^ a Catholic Gospel," written in '' a truly Catholic 
temper." ** Wherever his own hand shows itself, one sees that 
his thought is as universalistic as it is free from ^e bondage of 
the Law. . . . The individuality of the author makes itself so 
strongly felt both in style and tendency, that it is impossible to 
think of the Gospel as a mere compilation " (JiiliGher). 

On the contrary, as Renan says, " the Gospel of Matthew, all 
things considered, is the most important book of Christianity — 
the most important book that has ever been written." Not 
without reason it received the first place in the N.T. "The 
compilation of the Gospels is, next to the personal action of 
Jesus, the leading isuct in the history of the origins of 
Christianity; — I will even add in the history of mankind" 
(Les Jivangi/es, p. 212 ; Eng. trans, p. 112). 

The writer of this Gospel rises far above the limitations of 
his own Jewish Christianity. To see in it anything directed 
against the teaching of S. Paul is strangely to misunderstand it. 
So far as there is anything polemical in Mt, it is directed, not 
gainst the Apostle of the Gentiles, but against Pharisaic 
Judaism. This wide outlook as to the meaning and scope of 
Christianity is clear evidence that what he gives us as the 
Messiah's teaching is not the writer's own, but the teaching of 
Him in whom both Jew and Gentile were to find salvation. Its 
Catholic Christianity, which is the spirit of Christ Himself, has 
made this Gospel, from the first century to the twentieth, a 
favourite with Christians. 

The Sources. 

To some extent these have been already stated. The writer 
of our First Gospel used Mk. in nearly the same form as that in 
which it has come down to us,^ and also a collection of 
Utterances which was probably made either wholly or in part by 
S. Matthew.' This second document, which quickly went out of 
use owing to the superiority of ^e Canonical Gospels, is 
commonly spoken of as " the Logia," or (more scientifically) as 
"Q," a symbol which commits us to nothing. Besides these 
two main sources, there were at least two others. These are ( i ) 
the O.T., the quotations from which, however, may have come 
from a collection of passages believed to be Messianic, rather 
than Irom the writer's knowledge of the O.T. as a whole ; and 
(2) traditions current among the first Christians. It is also 

' If there were differences, it is not impossible that the text of Mk. which 
Mt used was inferior to that which has come down to us : corruption had 
already begun. See Stanton, Synoptic Gospels^ pp. 34 f. 


possible that some of the many attempts at Gospels, mentioned 
by S. Luke in his Preface, may have been known to our 
Evangelist and used by him. But the only one of his sources 
which we can compare with his completed work is the Second 
Gospel, and it is most instructive to see the way in which he 
treats it This has been worked out in great detail by the Rev. 
W. C. Allen in his admirable work on St Matthew in the 
International Critical Commentary, which ought to be consulted 
by all who wish to do justice to the Synoptic problem. Here it 
will suffice to make a selection of instances, paying attention 
chiefly to those which illustrate the freedom which the compiler 
of the First Gospel allowed himself in dealing with the Second. 

1. He appropriates nearly the whole of it^ The chief 
omissions are : Healing of a demoniac (Mk. i. 23-28) ; 
Prayer before preaching in Galilee (i. 35-39); Seed grow- 
ing secretly (iv. 26-29); Healing of a deaf stammerer (vii. 
32-36); Healing of a blind man (viii. 22-26); The un- 
commissioned exorcist (ix. 38-40); Widow's mites (xiL 41- 
44). And there are other smaller omissions. 

2. He makes considerable changes in order^ chiefly so as to 
group similar incidents and sayings together, and thus make the 
sequence more telling. Thus we have three triplets of miracles : 
leprosy, paralysis, fever (viii. 1-15); victory over natural powers, 
demonic powers, power of sin (viii. 23-ix. 8) ; restoration of life, 
sight, speech (ix. 18-34). And he omits sayings where Mark 
has them, and inserts them in a different connexion, generally 
earlier. Thus Mk. i v. 21 is inserted Mt v. 15 instead of xiiL 23, 
24; Mk. iv. 22 is inserted Mt x. 26 instead of xiii. 23, 24; 
Mk. ix. 41 is inserted Mt x. 42 instead of xviii. 5 ; Mk. ix. 50 is 
inserted Mt v. 13 instead of xviiL 9 ; Mk. xL 25 is inserted Mt 
vl 14 instead of xxi. 22. 

3. Although he adds a great deal to Mark, yet he frequently 
abbremates^ perhaps to gain space for additions. He often omits 
what is redundant. In the following instances, the words in 
brackets are found in Mark but not in the First Gospel. ' [The 
time is fulfilled, and] the Kingdom of God is at hand : repent ye 
[and believe in the gospel]' (Mk. i. 15). 'And at even, [when 
the sun did set]' (L 32). 'And straightway the leprosy 
[departed from him, and he] was cleansed * (i. 42). * [And the 
wind ceased] and there was a great calm ' (iv. 39). * Save in his 
own country, [and among his own kin,] and in his own house ' 
(vL 4). Such things are very frequent He also omits un- 

> Why did both he and S. Luke have so high an estimate of Mk. as to 
incorporate it in their own Gospek ? Because Mk. was believed to be the 
mouthpiece of S. Peter, and because his Gospel emanated (as is highly 
probable) from the great centre of all kinds of interetts-^Rome. 


essential details ; e.g. ' He was with the wild beasts ' (Mk. i. 13) ; 
* with the hired servants ' (i. 20) ; ' with James and John * (i. 29) ; 
'upon the cushion' (iv. 38); 'about 2000' (v. 13); *2oo 
pennyworth' (vL 37); 'so as no fuller on earth can whiten 
them * (ix. 3) ; ' 300 pence ' (xiv. 5) ; the young man who fled 
naked (xiv. 51); 'the father of Alexander and Rufus' (xv. 21). 
And he frequently omits notes about the crowds which impeded 
Christ (Mk. i. 33, 45, iL 2, 4, iii. 9, 10, 20, vi. 31). 

4. On the other hand he frequently expands. Compare 
Mk. L 7, 8 with Mt. iii. 7-12; Mk. iiL 22-26 with Mt xii. 

24-45 \ ^^ iv- ^^^ ^^ ^^^ \ ^1^* ^* ^-11 with Mt X. 5-42 ; 
Mk. xiL 38-40 ¥rith Mt xxiiL ; Mk. xiiL with Mt xxiv.-xxv. 

5. Among the many changes in language which he makes the 
following are conspicuous ; and in considering the numbers we 
must remember the different length of the two Gospels. Mark 
has 'again' (iraXcy) about 26 times, Matthew about 16, of which 
4 are from Mark. Mark has 'straightway' (cvMs) about 41 
times, Matthew about 7, all from Mark. Mark has the historic 
present about 150 times, Matthew about 93, of which 21 are 
from Mark. And the compiler seems to have disliked the 
imperfect tense. He frequently turns Mark's imperfects into 
aorists, or avoids them by a change of expression. Comp. 
Mk. vi. 7, 20, 41, 56 with Mt X. i, xiv. 5, 19, 36 ; and Mk. x. 
48, 52 with Mt. XX. 31, 34. Such alterations are very frequent 

6. But the compiler, besides making changes of order and 
language, and sometimes abbreviating and sometimes expanding 
Mark's narrative, occasionally makes alterations in the substance 
of Mark's statements. Some of these seem to aim at greater 
accuracy; as the substitution of 'tetrarch' (Mt xiv. i) for 
'king' (Mk. vi. 14), the omissions of 'when Abiathar was 
high priest' (Mk. iL 26), 'coming from (work in the) field' 
(xv. 21), 'having bought a linen doth' (xv. 46), and perhaps the 
change from 'after tibiree days' (viii. 31, ix. 31, x. 34) to 'on 
the third day' (Mt xvL 21, xvii. 23, xx. 19). But other 
changes involve more substantial difference ; e,g, ' Levi the son 
of Alphaeus' (ii. 14) becomes 'a man called Matthew' (Mt ix. 
9); 'Gerasenes' (v. i) becomes 'Gadarenes' (Mt viu. 28); 
'Dalmanutha' (viii. 10) becomes 'Magadan' (Mt xv. 39). 
Where Mark has one demoniac (v. 2) and one blind man 
(x. 46), the compiler gives two (Mt viii. 28, xx. 30). 

7. Sometimes he alters the narrative of Mark in order to 
make the incident a more clear case of the fulfilment of 
prophecy. Mark has, 'Ye shall find a colt tied, whereon no 
man ever yet sat ; loose him and bring him ' (xi. 2). For this 
he has, 'Ye shall find an ass tied and a colt with her; loose 
and bring to Me ' (Mt. xxi. 2), and then he goes on to quote the 


prophecy, ' riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an 
ass.' Mark says, * They promised to give him money ' (xiv. 1 1) ; 
for which the compiler substitutes, * They weighed to him thirty 
pieces of silver' (xxvi. 15), which comes from Zech. xi. 12, and a 
little later he quotes 2^ch. xi. 13, which he erroneously attributes 
to Jeremiah (xxvii. 9). Mark has, 'They offered Him wine 
mingled with myrrh' (xv. 23). In Mt xxviL 34 the * myrrh' 
is changed to 'gall,' perhaps to suggest a reference to Ps. 
Ixix. 21. In a similar way Justin Martyr i^ApoL i. 32) says that 
the foal of the ass was "tied to a vine," in order to make 
the incident a fulfilment of 'binding his foal unto the vine' 
(Gen. xlix. 11). 

8. The compiler tones dawn or omits what seems to he un- 
favourable to the disciples. The rebuke, 'Know ye not this 
parable? and how shall ye know all the parables?' (Mk. iv. 13) 
becomes a blessing in Mt. xiiL 16 if. ' For they understood not 
concerning the loaves, but their heart was hardened' (vi. 52) is 
omitted. At Mk. viii. 29 the compiler inserts ' Blessed art thou, 
Simon Barjona,' etc. (xvi. 17-19). He omits (xvii. 4) that Peter 
'wist not what to answer' (Mk. viii. 6); also that they 
'questioned among themselves what the rising from the dead 
should mean ' (ix. 10). For ' they understood not the saying, 
and were afraid to ask Him' ^Mk. ix. 32) he substitutes, 'they 
were exceeding sorry ' (xviL 23). For ' they disputed one ¥rith 
another, who was the greatest ' (Mk. ix. 34) and were rebuked 
for so doing, he substitutes, 'the disciples came unto Jesus, 
saying, Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' 
(xviiL i). The ambitious petition of the sons of Zebedee 
(Mk. X. 35) is assigned to their mother (Mt xx. 20). 'They 
wist not what to answer Him' (Mk. xiv. 40) is omitted 
(Mt xxvi. 43). 

9. Still more instructive and interesting are the cases in which 
the compiler tones down or omits what might encourage a low 
conception of the character of Christ Reverential feeling seems 
to have made him shrink from the freedom with which the 
earlier record attributes human emotions and human limitations 
to our Lord. ' And when He had looked round on them with 
anger, being grieved at the hardening of their heart' (Mk. iii. 5) 
is omitted Mt xii. 13. ' He marvelled because of their unbelief,' 
and ' He could there do no mighty work ' (vi. 5, 6) is changed 
to 'He did not many mighty works there because of their 
unbelief (Mt xiii. 58). 'He sighed deeply in His Spirit' 
(viii. 12) is omitted Mt xvi. 4. ' He was moved with indignation ' 
(x. 14) is omitted Mt xix. 14. ' Looking upon him loved him ' 
(X. 21) is omitted Mt xix. 21. 'Began to be greatly amazed' 
(xiv. 33) is changed to 'began to be sorrowful' (Mt xxvi. 37). 


The compiler also omits questions which seem to imply 
ignorance on the part of Christ. * What is thy name ? ' (v. 9). 
*\Vho touched My garments?* (v. 30). *How many loaves 
have ye?' (vi. 38). *Why doth this generation seek a sign?' 
(viiL 12). 'Seest thou aught?' (viii. 23). 'What question ye 
with them ?' (ix. 16). ' How long time is it since this hath come 
unto him?* (ix. 21). 'What were ye reasoning in the way?* 
(ix. 33). 'Where is My guest-chamber?' (xiv. 14). The 
compiler also omits what might imply that Christ was unable to 
accomplish what He willed. * Jesus could no more openly enter 
into a city ' (L 45). ' He said unto him, Come forth thou 
undean spirit ' (v. 8) when the demon had not yet come forth. 
*He would have passed by them' (vi. 48). 'Would have no 
man know it ; and He could not be hid * (vii. 24). ' If haply 
He might find anything thereon ... for it was not the season 
of figs' (xi. 13); as if Christ did not know till He came and 
looked, and as if He had expected what could not be. Perhaps 
the change from ' driveth Him forth ' (Mk. L 1 2) to ' was led up ' 
(Mt iv. i) is of a similar character. 

To the same feeling we may attribute the remarkable change 
of 'Why callest thou Me good? None is good save one, even 
God * (x. 18), into ' Why askest thou Me concerning that which is 
good? One there is who is good* (Mt. xix. 17); and the 
probable omission (the reading is doubtful) of * neither the Son ' 
xiiL 32) in Mt xxiv. 36. The change of 'the carpenter' 
vi. 3) into ' the carpenter's son ' (Mt. xiii. 55) is of a similar 
kind; and perhaps the change of 'Master, carest Thou not 
that we perish?' (iv. 38) into 'Save, Lord, we perish' (Mt. 
viiL 25). But perhaps this last change was made to shield the 

Side by side ¥rith this toning down of what might lessen the 
majesty of Christ's person is a readiness to heighten what 
illustrates it When Mark says that 'they brought to Him all 
that were sick and them that were possessed,' and that 'He 
healed many and cast out many demons' (i. 32, 34), the 
compiler says that ' they brought to Him many possessed,' and 
that 'He cast out the spirits with a wordy and healed air 
(Mt. viii. 16). He thrice, by inserting 'from that hour,' insists 
that the healing word took effect immediately (be. 22, xv. 28, 
xvii. 18). He makes the fig-tree wither immediately, and states 
that the disciples were amazed at the sudden withering, whereas 
Mark indicates that they did not notice the withering till next 
day. He omits the two miracles in which Christ used spittle as 
a means of healing (Mk. vii. 31, viii. 22), and he omits the 
convulsions of the demoniac boy, which might imply that Christ 
had difficulty in healing him (Mt. ix. 20). He also represents 



Jairus' daughter as beine raised by merely taking her hand : no 
word is recorded (ix. 25;.^ 

These nine classes of changes, which by no means exhaust 
the subject, strongly confirm the generally accepted view that 
the Gospel according to S. Mark is the earlier. We can see 
in the majority of cases why the change from Mark to Matthew 
has been made. Assume that Matthew is primary, and the 
changes to what Mark gives us would be unintelligible. More- 
over there is the fact that some of the changes made in Matthew 
are found in Luke also. That again points to Mark being the 

The consideration of the material which is common to both 
Matthew and Luke, but is not found in Mark, does not lead to 
such sure results; and a variety of hypotheses are possible, 
(i) Both the compiler of Matthew and 'the beloved physician' 
may have used the same collection of Utterances, translated from 
the Hebrew of S. Matthew the Apostle. (2) S. Luke may have 
used a collection similar to the one used by the compiler, but 
varying somewhat from it. (3) Each may have used several 
such collections, having a good deal of common material ; and 
S. Luke knew of the existence of many such documents. (4) 
Each may have drawn from oral traditions, which to a large 
extent had become stereotyped. (5) S. Luke may have seen 
the Gospel according to Matthew. With our present knowledge, 
certainty is impossible. That S. Luke and the compiler of 
Matthew used Mark, pretty nearly as we have it, is certain ; that 
they had other and similar materials, is certain ; and that each 
used materials which the other did not use, and perhaps did not 
know, is also certain. Beyond that, all is more or less reasonable 
conjecture. That each of them used Mark as we have it, is a 
reasonable conjecture ; and Burkitt agrees with Wellhausen that 
" Mark was known to both the other Synoptists in the same form 
and with the same contents as we have it now " (TAe Gospel History 
and its Transmission^ p. 64). But perhaps it would be more 
accurate to say that our Mark is derived from one copy of the 
autograph, and that the other two Synoptists made use of 
another ; and we must remember that in those days scribes were 
not mere copyists whose one aim was to copy accurately ; they 
thought that it was their duty to edit and improve what they had 
before them. Again, it is a reasonable conjecture that the 

material used by the Synoptists existed originally in Aramaic, 


^ Perhap the two demoniacs and the two blind men (viii. 28, xx. 30), 
where MarK mentions only one, may be placed, under this head. 

* See an excellent article on " The Early Church and the Synoptic 
Gospels" in the Journal of Theological Studies, April 1904, pp. 330-342 ; 
also January 1909, pp. 168, 172. 


and that most of it had been translated into Greek before they 
used it. 

If copyists sometimes edited what they copied, much more 
did Evangelists edit the materials which they used. We see 
this in their grouping, in their wording, and in their insertion 
ci editorial notes. Such notes were indispensable. A writer 
who has to unite in consecutive narrative anecdotes and utter- 
ances of which the historical connexion has been lost, must insert 
editorial links to form a sequence. He may or may not have 
independent authority for the link, but a link of some kind he 
must have, whether there be authority for it or not. And in 
some cases the discourses or narratives which he has to piece 
together may be said to be the authority for what is inserted, for 
something of the kind must have taken place, or what is recorded 
could not have happened. Thus, the record of a long discourse 
on a mount implies that the Lord went up the mount, that He 
had an audience, and that, when all was over, He came down 
again. These details, therefore, are inserted (v. i, viii. i). After 
charging the Apostles, He must have gone elsewhere to teach 
(zL i). The same thing would happen at the end of other 
discourses (xiii. 53, xix. i« xxvL i). Where there was nothing 
known to the contrary, it might be assumed that the Twelve 
understood Him (xvii. 13), even when at first they had not done 
so (xvi. 12). If the Evangelist felt quite certain of the meaning 
of our Lord's words, he might give the supposed meaning as 
having been actually spoken by Him (xii. 40). If a prophecy, 
which the Messiah must have known, seemed to be very 
appropriate, He might be supposed to have quoted it (ix. 13, 
xiL 7, xiiL 14, 15, xxiv. 30). If, at the Supper, the Twelve 
said to Him, one by one, ' Is it I ? ' then Judas must have said 
so, and the Lord would answer him (xxvi. 25). If the women 
on Easter momiilg found the stone already removed from the 
tomb, the removal must have had a cause ; and if there was an 
earthquake, this must have had a cause. It was reported that 
an Angel had been seen: then, doubtless, he was the cause 
(xxviii. 2-4). There are other places where we may reasonably 
conjecture that we are reading editorial comment rather than 
the reproduction of historical tradition; e,g, xiii. 36a, xvi. 11 3, 
xxii. 34 ; and there may be even more than these. 

Editorial additions of this kind do not look like the work of 
an Apostle and an eye-witness. If the First Gospel, as we have 
it, were the production of S. Matthew, we should, as in the 
Fourth Gospel, have much more important additions to what 
is told us by S. Mark. In the feeding of the 5000, contrast the 
vivid details which Jn. alone gives with the trifling inferences 
which are peculiar to Mt. In the story of the Passion and of 


the Resurrection, the same kind of contrast will be felt These 
editorial notes, therefore, are a strong confirmation of the view 
that only to a very limited extent can our First Gospel be 
regarded as the composition of the Apostle. 

The existence of these notes does not interfere with the 
substantial trustworthiness of the Gospels. Even when we 
have set aside all the verses which seem to be editorial, the 
number of them is not large, and is almost infinitesimal in 
comparison with the remainder. And it must be remembered 
that we may be mistaken about some of them, and also that 
some, although editorial, may be quite true. At any rate they 
represent what writers in a«d. 6o~ioo regarded as sufficiently 
probable to be affirmed. 


As already intimated, the framework is that of Mk. 
Omitting the first two chapters respecting the Birth and Infancy 
of the Messiah, which have no parallel in Mk., we may exhibit 
the correspondence, or want of correspondence, between the 
two Gospels section by section. If both Gospels are analysed 
into five main divisions, the relations of the divisions to one 
another will stand thus : — 

Mark. Matthbw. 

i. 1-13 Introduction to the Gospel iii. i-iv. 1 1 

i. 14-vi. 13 Ministry in Galilee iv. 12-xiii. 58 

vL 14-ix. 50 Ministry in the Neighbourhood ziv. i-xviii. 35 

X. 1-52 Journey through Peraea to Jerusalem xix. i-xx. 34 

xi. i-xvi 8 Last Week in Jerusalem xxL i-xxviii. 8 

It is in the first two divisions that Mt. makes most changes 
in the order of the shorter sections of which they are composed. 
But from xiv. 1, and still more decidedly from xv. 21, he follows 
the order of Mk. very closely, although he both abbreviates and 
expands. And it should be noted that where Mt. deviates from 
the order of Mk., Lk. commonly follows it Mk. is nearly always 
supported by either Mt or Lk. or both : his is the original order. 

When we subtract from Mt what has been derived from 
Mk., we have a remainder very different from that which is 
produced by subtracting from Lk. what has been derived from 
Mk. In the latter case we have not only various discourses, 
especially parables, which have not been recorded elsewhere, 
but also a large proportion of narratives, which Lk. alone has 
preserved. But in the case of Mt, that which remains after 
Mk. has been subtracted consists almost wholly of discourses, 
for which the compiler evidently had a great liking. The amount 


of narrative which he alone has preserved for us is not very 
great ; nor, with the exception of the contents of the first two 
cbapters, is it, as a rule, of first-rate importance. It consists of 
such stories as Peter's walking on the sea, the demand for the 
Temple-tax, the suicide of Judas, the message of Pilate's wife 
and his washing his hands, the earthquake and the resurrection 
of the saints, Sie setting of a watch at the sepulchre and the 
subsequent bribing of the guards. What the Evangelist chiefly 
has at heart is to add to Mk.'s narratives of the doings of the 
Messiah a representative summary of the teaching of the Messiah. 
'From that time began Jesus to preach' (iv. 17). 'He opened 
His mouth and taught them' (v. 2). 'He departed thence to 
teach and preach ' (xi. i). * He taught them in their synagogue ' 
(xiii. 54). 'And Jesus went about all the cities and the 
villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel 
of the Kingdom' (ix. 35). Statements such as these show 
clearly the writer's deep interest in all that the Messiah said\ 
and l^e number of sayings which he has collected shows this 
still more. 

In this presentation of the words of Christ in this Gospel the 
Evangelist is fond of gathering into one discourse a number of 
shorter sayings, as may be seen from comparison with S. Luke, 
who has these same sayings scattered about, in various con- 
nexions, in his Gospel. The chief example of this is the 
Sermon on the Mount (Mt. v.-vii.). But there are other 
instances of what seems to be a similar process, making at least 
seven in aU. There is the address to the Apostles (x. 5-42) ; the 
collection of parables (xiii.) ; the discourse on the little child and 
the sayings which follow it (xviii.); the three parables of warning to 
the hierarchy (xxL 28-xxii. 14); the Woes against the Pharisees 
(xxiii.); and the discourse on the Last Things (xxiv., xxv.). To 
these we may perhaps add the discourse about John the Baptist, 
which is grouped with other sayings (xi. 4-19 ; 20-30). Five of 
these seven or eight discourses are clearly marked off, as we 
shall see, by the Evangelist himself. 

It is often pointed out that in this Gospel incidents and 
sayings are frequently arranged in numerical groups of three, 
five, or seven. Triplets are very common. The opening 
genealogy is artificially compressed into three divisions, each 
having two sevens in it There are three events of the 
ChUdhood, the visit of the Magi, the flight into Egypt, and 
the return (ii. 1-23); three temptations (iv. i-ii); three 
examples of righteousness, alms, prayer, and fasting (vi. 1-18); 
three prohibitions, Hoard not, Judge not, Give not what is holy 
to the dogs (vi. 19-vii. 6); under * Hoard not' there are three 
aims, the heavenly treasure, the single eye, and the banishment 


of anxiety (vi. 19-34); threefold *Be not anxious' (vi. 25; 
3^; 34); three commands, Ask, Enter by the narrow gate, 
Beware of false prophets (vii. 7-20); three pairs of contrasts, 
the broad and narrow way, the good and bad trees, and the 
wise and foolish builders (vii. 13 ; 17 ; 24-27) ; threefold 'in Thy 
Name '(vii. 22); three miracles of healing, leprosy, palsy, fever 
(viii. 1-15); three miracles of power, storm, demoniacs, sin 
fviii. 23-ix. 8) ; three miracles of restoration, health, life, sight 
[ix. 8-34); threefold *Fear not' (x. 26; 28; 31); threefold Ms 
not worthy of Me' (x. 37, 38); three cavils of the Pharisees 
(xii. 2 ; 14 ; 24) ; three signs to the Pharisees, Jonah, Ninevites, 
and Queen of the South (xii. 38-42); 'empty, swept, and 
garnished' (xii. 44); three parables from vegetation, Sower, 
Tares, and Mustard-seed (xiii. 1-32) ; three parables of warning 
(xxL 28-xxii. 14) ; three questioners, Pharisees, Sadducees, and 
lawyer (xxil 15 ; 23 ; 35) ; three powers with which God is to be 
loved, heart, soul, and mind (xxii. 37). In ch. xxiii. we have 
.numerous triplets: 'Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites {passim); 
feasts, synagogues, and market-places (6) ; teacher, father, and 
master (8-10), Temple and ^old, altar and gift, heaven and 
throne (16-22); tithing of mmt, dill, and cummin contrasted 
with judgment, mercy and faith (23) ; tithing of trifles, straining 
out gnats, cleansing of cup and platter (23-26); prophets, wise 
men, and scribes (34). In the remaining chapters we have other 
examples; three parables against negligence, the Faithful and 
the Unfaithful Slaves, the Ten Virgins, and the Talents (xxiv. 45- 
XXV. 30) ; three addresses to the Three in Gethsemane (xxvi. 38 ; 
40, 41 ; 45, 46) ; three prayers in Gethsemane (xxvL 39 ; 42 ; 44) ; 
three utterances at the Arrest, to Judas, Peter, and the multitudes 
(xxvL 50; 52-54); three shedders of innocent blood, Judas, 
Pilate, and the people (xxvii. 4 ; 24 ; 25) ; three signs to attest 
the Messiahship of the Crucified, the rending of the veil, the 
earthquake, the resurrection of saints (xxvii. 51-53); three 
groups of witnesses to the Resurrection, the women, the soldiers, 
and the disciples (xxviii. i-io ; 1 1-15 ; 16-20) ; the last words to 
the Church, a claim, a charge, and a promise (xxviiL 18-20) ; of 
which three the second was threefold, to make disciples, to 
baptize, and to teach (19, 20); of which three the second again 
has a tHple character : ' into the Name of the Father and of the 
Son and of the Holy Ghost' (19). 

Many of these thirty-eight instances have no parallel passage 
in Mk. or Lk. . In many of the others it will be found that the 
parallel passage omits one or more member of the triplet or adds 
one to it ; e.g, Lk. (vi. 43-49) has the good and bad trees, and 
the wise and foolish builders, but not the broad and narrow way. 
Elsewhere (xiii. 24) he has the narrow door, but no broad or 


wide door. For 'judgment, mercy, and faith' Lk. (xi. 42) has 
'judgment and the love of God/ He has (xi. 39, 42) the 
cleansing of cup and dish, and the tithing of small herbs, but he 
omits the straining out of the gnat. For the threefold ' Be not 
anxious,' he has (xii. 22, 29, 32) 'Be not anxious,' 'Seek not,' 
'Fear not.' On the other hand, for heart, soul, and mind he 
has (x. 27) heart, soul, strength, and mind. 

There can be no doubt that some of these triplets were in the 
sources which both Mt. and Lk. used, for both Gospels have 
them. In a few cases it is just possible that Lk. derived them 
from Mt. ; but it is much more reasonable to assign their origin 
to the sources ; e,g, the three temptations probably come from 
some unknown source; the three addresses to the Three in 
Gethsemane are in Mk., though not in Lk., and may be assigned 
to Mk. ; and there are other triplets, not included in the above 
list, which are in both Mt and U. and may be attributed to the 
sources which they used; e,g. 'ask,' 'seek,' 'knock' (vii. 7; 
Lk. xi. 9) ; reed, man in soft clothing, prophet (xi. 7-9 ; Lk. vii. 
24-26); Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum (xi. 20-23; L^* x. 
13-15). But, when all deductions are made, there remains a 
considerable number of triplets which Mt has constructed either 
by grouping or by modifications in wording. 

Groups of five are less common. Mt. has marked off for us 
five great discourses, each of which is closed by him with the 
same formula, ' It came to pass when Jesus finished ' (cyci^cro irt 
hiX/ta-ey 6 li/crovs), viL 28, xi. I, xiiL 53, xix. i, xxvi. i. These 
five discourses are : the Sermon on the Mount ; the address to 
the Apostles ; the collection of parables ; the discourse on the 
little child with the sayings which follow it; and the great 
apocalyptic discourse. The Sermon on the Mount contains 
five corrections of inadequate conceptions about the Law, each 
of them introduced by the words, 'But I say unto you' (v. 22, 
28, 34, 39, 44) ; and in the apocalyptic discourse there are two 
parables in which the number five is prominent, the five wise 
and the five foolish virgins, and the five talents which gained 
other five. In chapters xxi. and xxii. there are five questions ; 
about authority, tribute, resurrection, great commandments, and 
the Son of David Of the five great discourses, the address to 
the Twelve (x. 5-15 ; 16-23 ] 24-33 J 34-39 ; 40-42) and the great 
eschatological discourse (xxiv. 5-14 ; 15-51 ; xxv. 1-13 ; 14-30 ; 
31-46) can be divided into five paragraphs ; but the latter can 
also be conveniently divided into seven (xxiv. 5-14; 15-28; 
29-31; 32-51; xxv. 1-13; 14-30; 31-46). The discourses in 
ch.xL (7-19; 20-24; 25-30) and inch, xviii. (3-14; 15-20; 21-35) 
&11 readily into three divisions ; but by further subdivision they 
can be made into five. The Sermon on the Mount can also be 


divided into five parts (v. 3-16; 17-48; vi. 1-18; 19-viL 6, 
7-27), and some of these parts can be readily subdivided into 
five or three paragraphs. 

We have seen that this Gospel can be placed side by side 
with Mk. and analysed into five main divisions. This means 
omitting the first two chapters, which have no parallel in Mk. 
If we add these two chapters as an Introduction, and break the 
last great division into two (xxi. i-xxv. 46 ; xxvi. i-xxviii. 20), 
thus separating the last days of work from the Passion, 
Death, and Resurrection, we have a Gospel in seven main 

But the clearest examples of grouping by seven are the seven 
parables in ch. xiii. and the seven woes in ch. xxiiL Some find 
seven Beatitudes at the opening of the Sermon, and. seven 
petitions ih the Lord's Prayer. It is also possible to find a 
group of seven in vi. 25-34 (see notes there); and there are 
some who think that the separate instructions to the Twelve 
have been gathered up by Mt. ''into a single sevenfold com- 
mission." ,It has been already pointed out that a fivefold 
division seems to fit this discourse well ; but, if we are to find a 
seven in the Mission of the Twelve, we shall find it more 
securely in the seven centres of work which resulted from it, — 
our Lord, and six pairs of Apostles. 

It is plain from what has just been stated that groups of five 
and groups of seven are far less fi-equent in this Gospel than 
groups of three. Even if we were to count all the possible 
instances of five and of seven, they would hardly amount to half 
the number of triplets. The five great discourses, the seven 
parables, and the seven woes are evidently intentional groupings. 
Many of the others which have been suggested may be intended 
also ; but we cannot be certain. 

There is nothing fanciful or mystical in these numerical 
rarangements. Groups of three and of seven are frequent in the 
O.T., and were in use before its earliest books were written. 
Three is the smallest number which has beginning, middle, and 
end, and it is composed of the first odd number added to the 
first even number. The days of the week, corresponding to 
phases of the moon, made seven to be typical of plurality and 
completeness. Although seven is a sacred number often in the 
O.T. and sometimes in the N.T., e.g. in the Apocalypse, yet there 
is no clear instance of this use in the Gospels. All that the 
Evangelist need be supposed to imply by these numerical 
groupings is orderly arrangement Everything in the Gospel 
history took place and was spoken cvtrxi^/Aovois icat icara ra^iv 
(i Cor. xiv. 40); and everything must be narrated 'decently 
and in order.' 

1>LAN Ot THE GOSPEL xxiii 

It is possible that these groupings into threes, or fives, or 
sevens, or tens would aid the memory of both teachers and 
learners, and would in this way be useful to catechists. It is 
also possible that the Evangelist had this end in view in making 
these numerical groups. Sir John Hawkins (Ifora SynopticcB^ 
p. 131) favours such a theory. "This seems to have been 
done in Jewish fashion, and perhaps especially for the use of 
Jewish-Christian catechists and catechumens. . . . When we 
think of the five books of the Pentateuch, the five books of 
Psalms, the five Megilloth, the five divisions which Dr. 
Edersheim and others trace in Ecclesiasticus, the five parts 
which Mr. Charles as well as previous scholars see in the Book 
of Enoch (pp. 25-32; Hastings' DB, art. 'Enoch'), and the 
five Pereqs which make up the Pirqe Abothy it is hard to believe 
that it is by accident that we find in S. Matthew the five times 
repeated formula about Jesus 'ending' His sayings (vii. 28, 
xL I, xiii. 53, xix. i, xxvi. i). Are we not reminded of the 
colophon which still closes the second book of Psalms, 'The 
prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended' (Ps. IxxiL 20)?'" 
Comp. also, 'The words of Job are ended' (Job xxxi. 40). Of 
course the fact that Mt. consciously made five great discourses 
does not prove that he did so in order to assist the memory of 
catechists and catechumens, but some of his numerical groups 
may have had this aim. 

Other instances of the occurrences of these and other 
numbers in this Gospel might be cited; but they are of less 
onportance. Some of them are probably to be understood 
quite literally. It so happened that there were three, or five, or 
seven ; as in Peter's proposal for three tabernacles, or the five 
loaves and the five thousand, or the seven loaves and the seven 
baskets. In other cases it is a round number, as in Peter's 
question, ' Until seven times ? * But the examples given above 
fully justify the statement that these numerical arrangements are 
a characteristic of the First Gospel. 

It is this intense desire for what is orderly that has caused 
the Evangelist to gather together detached sayings of the Messiah 
and group them into continuous discourses. The large pro- 
portion of discourses in this Gospel has often been pointed out, 
and it is one of the reasons which quickly made the Gospel so 
much more popular than the earlier Gospel of Mark. In Mk. 
about half consists of discourses, in Lk. about two-thirds, in Mt. 
about three-fourths. The main portion of Mt, the ministry in 
Galilee and the neighbourhood (iv. 12-xviii. 35), is expanded 
from Mk. chiefly by the insertion of discourses, and it seems to 
be arranged on a fairly symmetrical plan. 

I. Opening activities, grouped round a prophecy of Isaiah 



Mt. iv. 15, 16), and ending with the Sermon on the Mount 
iv. 12-vii. 29). 

2. Ten acts of Meteianic Sovereignty, grouped round a 
prophecy of Isaiah (Mt viii. 17), and ending with the Charge to 
the Apostles (viii. i-x. 42). 

3. Many utterances of Messianic Wisdom, grouped round a 
prophecy of Isaiah (Mt xiL 18-21), and ending in seven 
illustrations of teaching by parables, which are grouped round 
Ps. Ixxviii. 2 (xL i-xiiL 58). 

4. Continued activities in and near Galilee, grouped round a 
prophecy of Isaiah (Mt xv. 8, 9), and ending in the discourses 
on offences and forgiveness (xiv. i-xviii. 35). Thus, chapters 
v.-viL, X., xiiL, and xviii. seem to be intended as condusions to 
definite sections of the Gospel, and they consist almost entirely 
of discourses. 

The compiler's preference for discourses is shown, not only 
by his insertion of them, but by his abbreviation of mere 
narrative. He frequently, as we have seen, omits details. He 
cares little about local colour or chronological order. His aim 
is to produce a definite impression — M^ Messianic dignity of Jesus. 
This aim is dear from the outset ' Book of the generation of 
Jesus, Messiah, Son of David, Son of Abraham' (i. i). The 
descent from David is emphasized (xii. 23, xxL 9, 15, xxii. 42) 
as indicating that He is the Messianic King (ii. 2, xxi. 5, xxvii. 
II, 29, 37, 42). The book is at once Jewish and anti-Jewish. 
It is manifestly written by a Jew for Jews. Its Jewish tone is 
conspicuous throughout. Palestine is 'the Land of Israel' 
(il 20, 21); its people are 'Israel' (viii 10) or 'the lost sheep 
of the house of Israel ' (x. 6, xv. 24) ; its towns are ' the cities of 
Israel' (x. 23); and God is 'the God of Israel' (xv. 31). 
Jerusalem is ' tiie holy city ' (iv. 5, xxvii. 53), an expression found 
in Is. xlviii. 2, lil i ; Dan. ix. 24 ; Tob. xiii. 9 ; but in the N.T. 
peculiar to this Gospel and the equally Jewish book of 
Revelation (xi. 2, xxi. 2, 10, xxii. 19). References to the 
fulfilment of Jewish prophedes abound (L 22, ii. 6, 15, 17, 23, 
iii. 3, iv. 14, viii. 17, xii. 17, xiii. 14, 35, xxi, 4, xxiv. 15, xxvi. 31, 
54, 56, xxvii. 9). It is evidently the aim of the Evangelist to let 
his fellow-Christians of the house of Israel know the certainty of 
that in which they had been instructed, viz. that Jesus of 
Nazareth was the Messiah foretold in prophecy. And the book 
is anti'Jeivish in showing that, although the Messiah was of them, 
and came to them first (x. 5, 6), yet by their rejection of Him 
they had lost their birthright of priority. The old exclusive 
barriers had been broken down, and the Kingdom of Israel had 
become a Kingdom of the Heavens, open to all nations. In 
order to enjoy the Messianic glory, the Jew must cease to be a 


Jew, must become a Christian, with Jesus as his Messiah, and 
be a subject in a Kingdom that was no longer Jewish. Thus 
this Gospel represents a moment of transition, a passage from 
the peculiar people to the whole race of mankind. On the one 
hand, the Messiah is come, 'not to destroy but to fulfil' (v. 17, 
18), and, as regards His work on earth, is sent only to Israel 
(xv. 24). But, on the other hand, the Law and the Prophets 
find their limit in the Baptist (xi. 13, 13); the Son of Man is 
Lord of the Sabbath (xii. 8) ; there is no moral pollution in food 
(xv. II, 19); the Kingdom is about to be transferred to others 
(xxL 45, comp. viiL 11, 13); and the Gospel of the Kingdom is 
to be preached in all the world to all peoples (xxiv. 14). And 
thus the book, which opens within the narrow limits of Jewish 
thought, with the origin of the Messiah as ' Son of David ' and 
'Son of Abraham' (i. i), ends with the great commission of the 
Messiah to the ' little flock ' of Jews that had not shared in the 
national rejection of Him, ' Go ye and make disciples of all the 
nations ' (zxviii. 19). 

Thb Christology of the First Gospel. 

We have just seen that the impression which this Evangelist 
desires to enforce is that of the rights of sovereignty which Jesus 
possessed, in the first place over the ancient people of Israel, 
and, after their rejection of Him as the Messianic King, over all 
the nations of the earth. The King of Israel by right of descent 
becomes, as Messiah, the King of the world For He is not 
only the Son of Abraham and the Son of David, but also the 
Son of Man and the Son of God. 

The Son of Man. It is specially in the First Gospel that our 
Lord is set before us as the Son of Man. The expression occurs 
frequently in all four Gospels ; about 80 times in all, of which 
40 or more times are distinct occasions. And the expression is 
invariably used by Christ, and of Himself. No Evangelist 
speaks of Him as the Son of Man, or represents any one as 
addressing Him as the Son of Man, or as mentioning Him by 
this designation. Our Lord, like many Jews of Palestine in His 
day, spoke both Aramaic and Greek, but He, no doubt, 
commonly spoke Aramaic. From this fact, and from the 
assumption that, so far as we know, the difference between ' son 
of man' in the sense of 'human being' (vio? iivOpwTrov — 6 
avOpwros) and ' the Son of Man * (6 vios tov AvOpfovov) could not 
be expressed in Aramaic,^ it has been argued that our I^rd 

^ This is assumption, and not fact. It is more reasonable to assume, from 
the use in Daniel and the Book of Enoch, that it must have been possible to 
express this difference in Aramaic (see Allen, 5/. Jidatihew^ p. Izziii). 



never called Himself ' the Son of Man.* In passing, it may be 
urged that Christ sometimes spoke Greek, and that it is possible 
that He may have used the very words o vios rov Mpiavov of 
Himself. But, in any case, the conclusion drawn from the 
linguistic peculiarities of Aramaic is far short of demonstration, 
and it is incredible. It is contradicted by the whole of the 
evidence that bears directly on the subject It assumes that, 
although He never used the title, all four Evangelists have 
insisted upon giving it to Him repeatedly: and yet in the 
Gospels we find that tkey never use it of Him, but report that 
Ife frequently used it On any theory of authorship, the 
Gospels represent the memories of people who must have known 
whether Christ used this remarkable expression of Himself or 
not And we may be sure that, the further we get away from 
the memories of the first generation of disciples, the less 
likelihood there would be of any such title being invented and 
put into Christ's mouth. Something expressing His Divinity 
rather than His humanity would have been chosen. We may 
regard the unanimous testimony of the four Gospels as decisive 
respecting His use of the term ; and His use of it explains 
that of Stephen (Acts vii. 56), who would know the Gospel 

The compiler of Matthew found the expression used 14 
times in Mark; and he has kept all these.^ Besides these 
cases, he uses it 19 times. That means that he found it in dolA 
his two main sources, Mark and the Logia or collection of 
Utterances (Q) ; for most of the additional 19 must have come 
from this second source. That again is strong evidence that the 
phrase was used by Christ; and also that our Evangelist 
welcomed the phrase as significant and appropriate; for his 
treatment of Mark shows that he did not scruple to omit, or 
even to alter, what he did not approve. 

The passage in Daniel, ' One like a son of man came with 
the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days,' and 
received a dominion which is universal and eternal (vii. 13, 14),' 

" Doubts have been thrown, on linmiistic grounds, upon the use by our 
Lord of the title Son of Man with reference to Himself. Those doubts have 
receded ; and I do not think that they will ever be urged with so much 
insistence again. . . . Here is an expression which can only go back to our 
Lord Himself, and it bears speaking testimony to the fidelity with which His 
words have been preserved " (Sanday, TAe Lt/e of Christ in Recent Research^ 
pp. 123-125 ; see also pp. 65-69, 100, 159, 190). 

^ There b an apparent exception in xvi. 21, which is no real exception, 
for the term is usea by anticipation in xvi. 13. In 8 cases the phrase is 
common to Mt., Mk., and Lk. In 8 it is common to Mt. and Lk. In 9 it 
is found in Mt. alone. In 8 it is found in Lk. alone. Jn. has it 12 times. 
The total for the four Gospels is 81 times. 

' Dan. yii. 18 seems to show that this ' Son of Man,' like the ' beasts,' is 


and several passages in Enoch (xlvi., li. 4, liii. 6, cv. 2), which 
possibly are, but probably are not, post-Christian, show that the 
phrase had come to be used of a Divine Messiah. But there is 
nothing specially Christian in this supernatural Messiah. He is 
the Son of God, but He is not the Word, not God. That He is 
to live on earth, or has lived on earth, and died, and risen again, 
is not hinted. It is a Jewish, pre-Christian Messiah that is 
indicated by ' the Son of Man.' But it may be securely asserted 
that the term was not commonly recognized among the Jews as a 
name for the Messiah. In that case, our Lord, who carefully 
abstained from calling Himself the Messiah, would never, until 
He had revealed Himself as the Messiah, have used the 
expression of Himself. It is clear that that revelation was made 
very gradually. Up to the question at Caesarea Philippi 
(Mt. xvi. 13-16 = Mk. viii. 27-29«Lk. ix. 18-20) He had not so 
revealed Himself: and even then He forbade that this partial 
revelation should be made public (Mt xvi. 20 «= Mk. viii. 30 = 
Lk. ix. 21 ; Mt. xvii. Q^Mk. ix. 9 ; comp. Lk. ix. 36V Yet there 
are passages in which * the Son of Man ' is used oy our Lord 
of Himself before the incident at Csesarea Philippi. There are 
nine such in Matthew. As our Evangelist so often groups things 
independently of chronology, we may believe that some of these 
nine cases, though placed bcffore Csesarea Philippi, really took 
place afterwards. But that can hardly be the case with Mt. ix. 
6 = Mk. iL io»Lk. v. 24, or Mt. xii. 8»Mk. ii. 28 = Lk. vi. 5, 
or Mt xii. 32 = Lk. xii. 10. We may be confident, therefore, 
that as Jesus used this term of Himself so early in the Ministry, 
it cannot have been one which was generally known as a name 
for the Messiah. Our Lord seems to have chosen the expressi(jn 
because it had mysterious associations which were not generally 
known, and because it was capable of receiving additional 
associations of still greater importance. It was like His parables, 
able to conceal Divine truth from the unworthy, while it revealed 
more and more to those whose hearts were being prepared to 
receive it. It insisted upon the reality of His humanity and His 
unique position as a member of the human race. It hinted at 
supernatural birth. It harmonized with Messianic claims, if it 
did not at once suggest them. And, when it became connected 
with the future glories of the Second Advent, it revealed what it 
had previously veiled respecting the present office and eternal 
pre-existence of Him in whom human nature found its highest 
and most complete expression. Thus it came to indicate the 

to be understood collectively. They are tyrannical dynasties ; he is the 
'saints of the Most High.* But in the Psalms of Solomon (xvii, xviii) and in 
the Apoc. of Baruch (Ixxii. 2, 3), as in Enoch, we clearly have an individual, 
nrbo is both King and Judge. 


meeting-point between what was humanly perfect with what was 
perfectly Divine.* 

The Son of God. Apart from the Fourth Gospel (v. 25, ix. 35 
[?], X. 36, xi. 4), we could not be certain that our Lord used this 
expression of Himself; and even with regard to those passages 
we must allow for the possibility that S. John is giving what he 
believed to be Christ's meaning rather than the words actually 
used. In Mt xvi. 16, for 'the Christ, the Son of the living God,' 
Mk. has only *the Christ,* and Lk. 'the Christ of God.' In Mt. 
xxvi. 63 we are on surer ground ; there ' the Christ, the Son of 
God,' is supported by Mk.'s * the Christ, the Son of the Blessed,' 
and by Lk.'s ' the Son of God' And we have it in the voice from 
heaven at the Baptism (iii. 17 = Mk. L 11 » Lk. iii. 22) and at the 
Transfiguration (xviL 5 * Mk. ix. 7 = Lk. ix. 35) ; in the devil's 
challenge (iv. 3, 6 = Lk. iv. 3, 9) ; in the cries of the demoniacs 
(viii. 29»Mk. v. y^Lk. viiL 28; comp. Mk. iiL 11); and in the 
centurion's exclamation (xxviL 54=:Mk. xv. 39). But, allowing 
for all critical uncertainties, we may regaid it as securely 
established that expressions of this kind were used both by our 
Lord and of Him during His life on earth. Dispassionate study 
of the Gospels, even without the large support which they receive 
in this particular from the Epistles, will convince us that Jesus 
knew that He possessed, and was recognized by some of those 
who knew Him as possessing, a relation of Sonship to God such 
as was given to no other member of the human race. A merely 
moral relationship, in which Jesus reached a higher grade than 
other holy persons, is quite inadequate to explain the definite 
statements and general tone of the Gospels. To take a single 
instance; the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen indicates 
clearly His own view of His relationship to God who sent Him. 
There had been many sent, but all the others were servants. 
He is the only ' son,' the sole ' heir,' the one whose rejection and 
murder at once produces a crisis fatal to the wrong<loers. As 
Dalman says, Jesus " made it indubitably clear that He was not 
only a but the Son of God." * The sovereignty of which He was 
the heir was the sovereignty over the world and over all its tenants. 

It is evident that the editor of this Gospel is fully convinced 
of the appropriateness of this far-reaching expression. If 'the 
Son of the living God ' has been added by him to Peter's con- 
fession (xvi. 16), it is because he felt that the addition was 

1 See Hastings' DB. ii. pp. 622 AT. and iv. pp. 579 AT. ; also Sanday, 
Outliius of the Life of Christy pp. 92 ff. ; Calmes, Bvangile selon S, Jean^ 
pp. I59tt. ; Zahn on Mt. viii. 18; Dnimmond in fourruU of TkeoUgUtu 
Studies, April and July 1901. 

• The Words o/fesus.jy, 280. Sec also Hastings' DB. ii. pp. 850 f., and 
iv. pp. 570 ff. ; Sanday, The Life of Christ in Recent Research, pp. 130-133 ; 
Gore, The New Theology and the Old Religion^ pp. 87-95. 


necessary in order to express the full meaning of what the Apostle 
said. More often than any other Evangelist he records that the 
designation 'Son of God 'was applied to Him (ii. 15, iii. 17, 
iv. 3, 6, viii. 29, xiv. 33, xvL 16, xvii. 5, xxvi. 63, xxvii. 40, 43, 
54). He records the crucial passage in which He speaks of His 
relation to God as one of Sonship in a unique sense (xi. 25-37), 
and also the two occasions on which God acknowledged Him as 
His Son, His Beloved (iii. 17, xvii. 5). And for this he prepares 
his readers by telling of His supernatural birth of a virgin, by 
conception of the Spirit of God, so that by prophetic sanction 
He may be called * God-with-us ' (i. 20-23). And the Evangelist 
finds that this prophetic sanction extends throughout the career 
of the Son of God ; in the chief events of His infancy (ii. 5, 15, 
i7» 23), in the chief scene of His Ministry (iv. 14), and in the 
chief details of it He finds it in John's proclamation of His 
coming (iii. 3), in His healings (viii. 17), His retirement from 
public notice (xii. 17)^ the hardness of His hearers' hearts 
(xiiL 14), His consequent use of parables (xiiL 35), His riding 
into Jerusalem (xxi. 4), the flight of His disciples (xxvi. 31), His 
capture by His enemies (xxvi. 54, 56), and even in the way in 
which the money paid for His blood was spent (xxviL 9). He 
is ministered to by Angels (iv. 11), who are at His disposal 
(xiii 41, xxiv. 31^, to use or not as He wills (xxvi. 53), and who 
will attend Him m His future glory (xvi. 27, xxv. 31). But the 
final purpose of the Son's mission was not simply to minister to 
the needs of men in body and soul, but 'to give His life a 
ransom for many' (xx. 28) by shedding His blood for them 
(xxvL 28). In the latter passage he adds to Mark's report that 
the blood is shed ' unto remission of sins.^ ^ 

^ "Jesus felt that He stood in such closeness rf communion with God the 
Father as belonged to none before or after Him» lie was conscious of speakk^ 
the last and decisive word : He felt that what He did was final, and that no 
one would come after Him. The certainty and simple force of His work, the 
sunshine, clearness and freshness of His whole attitude rest upon this founda- 
tion. We cannot eliminate from His personality, without aestroying it, the 
trait of superprophetic consciousness cf the accomplisher to whose person the 
flight of the ages and the whole destiny of His followers is linked . . . Let us 
contemplate this sovereign sense of leadership by which Jesus was possessed, 
and the inimitable sureness with which it unfolded itself in every direction. 
He knew how to value the authorities of the past, but He placed Himself 
above them. He was more of account than kings and prophets, than David, 
Solomon, and the Temple. The tradition of the elders He met with His 
' But I say imto ^ou,' and even Moses was not an authority to whom He gave 
unqualifiea submission." 

As Sanday points out, these are extraordinary admissions to be made by a 
writer (Bousset) who contends that the life of our Lord did not overstep the 
Umits of the purely human. The facts, as Bousset himself states them, flatly 
contradict his own theory ( The Life of Christ in Recent Research^ pp. 


The writer of this Gospel shows us very plainly what Jesus 
Himself thought of His own relations to God and to man. He 
sets Himself above the Law (v. 22-44, xii. 8) and the Temple 
(xii. 6), and above all the Prophets from Moses to the Baptist, 
for John is greater than the Prophets (xi. 9, 11), and He is 
greater than John (iii. 14, 15, xi. 4-6). The revelation which 
He brings surpasses all that has been revealed before (xi. 27), 
and this revelation is to be made known, not merely to the 
Chosen People (x. 6, xv. 24), but to all the nations (viii. 11, 
xxiv. 14, xxviii. 19). He is the Source of truth and of peace 
(xi. 28-30) ; and although He Himself is man, He can speak 
of all other men as sinners (vii. 11, xxvi. 45). When the 
Baptist shrinks from admitting Him to his baptism, He does 
not say that He too has need of cleansing, but He quiets 
John's scruples by quite other means (iii. 15). He prays 
(xiv. 23), and prays for Himself (xxvi. 39, 42, 44), but He 
never prays to be forgiven. He bids others to pray for forgive- 
ness, and for deliverance from temptation (vi. 12, 13, xxvi. 41), 
but He never asks them to pray for Him. Without proof, and 
without reserve, He makes enormous claims upon the devotion 
of His followers (viii. 22, x. 37, 38, xvi. 24), and He says that 
the way to save one's life is to lose it for His sake (x. 39, xvi. 25). 
He confers on Peter (xvi. 19) and on all the Apostles (xviii. 19) 
authority to prohibit and to allow in the Church which He is 
about to found ; and in the Kingdom which He has announced 
as at hand (iv. 17) He promises to His Apostles thrones (xix. 28). 
The Church is His Church ^xvi. 18), the elect in it are His 
elect (xxiv. 31), the Kingdom is His Kingdom (xvi. 28), and the 
Angels in it are His Angels (xiii. 41, xxiv. 31). Even during 
His life on earth He has authority to forgive sins (ix. 6), and by 
His death He will reconcile the sinful race of mankind to God 
(xxvi. 28). And all this is little more than the beginning. On 
the third day after His death He will rise again (xvi. 21, xvii. 23, 
XX. 19), and then He will possess God's authority in heaven and 
in earth, and also His power of omnipresence (xxviii. 18, 20). 
At a later period He will come in glory to judge the whole 
world, to reward righteousness and to punish unrepented sin 
(xvi. 27, xxiv. 30, 31, 47, 51); and the character of His 
judgments will depend upon the way in which men have behaved 
towards those who are their brethren, but in His eyes are His 
brethren and even as Himself (xxv. 31-46).* 

In most of these passages Mt. is supported by Mk. (ii. 10, 28, 

iii. II, 12, viii. 29-31, 34-38> «. 9, 31, 37, x. 34, 45, xii. 6, 

xiii. 26, 27, xiv. 3S-39> 62, xv. 34, xvi. 6), to say nothing 

of the still stronger support to be found in the Fourth Gospel 

» See Briggs, The Ethical Teaching of Jems, pp. 199-206, 222. 

THE DATE zxxi 

We cannot suppose that utterances such as these, so numerous, 
so various, and yet so harmonious, are the invention of this or 
that Evangelist. They are beyond the invention of any 
Evangelist, and few of them are anticipated in the O.T. In 
particular, there is no hint in the O.T. of a second coming of the 
Messiah ; it cannot, therefore, be maintained that either Jesus 
or the Evangelists derived the idea of His coming again from 
type or prophecy. And what makes the hypothesis of invention 
all the more incredible is the combination in Jesus of this 
consciousness of Divine powers with a character of deep 
humility, reticence, and restraint. While uttering these amazing 
claims with a serenity which implies that they are indisputable. 
He is still meek and lowly of heart (xi. 29), always charging 
those who in some measure know who He is that they shall not 
make Him known (xii. 16, xvL 20, xvii. 9), bidding those whom 
He has healed not to spread abroad His fame (viii. 4, ix. 30, xii. 16), 
declaring that He came not to be ministered unto, but to 
minister (xx. 28), and in His ministering quite ready to be 
stigmatized as the friend of tax-collectors and sinners (ix. 11, 
xi. 19). 

If, then, criticism accepts the record of His claims and of His 
actions as substantially true, how are we to explain them? 
Was He an ecstatic dreamer, a fanatic under the influence of a 
gigantic delusion ? This question may be answered by another. 
Is it credible that the limitless benefits which have blessed, and 
are daily blessing, those who believe that Jesus is what He 
claimed to be, are the outcome of a gigantic delusion ? The 
Incarnation explains all that is so perplexing and mysterious in 
the records of Christ's words and works, and in the subsequent 
history of the society which He founded. But nothing less than 
Divinity will explain the developments in the life of Jesus and of 
His Church. If, therefore, the Incarnation is a fiction, if it is 
not true that God became flesh and dwelt among us, then we 
must assume that flesh became God, and that hypothesis is, 
intellectually, a far greater difficulty than God's becoming man. 
To men of this generation the Incarnation may seem to be 
impossible, but with God all things are possible.^ 

The Date. 

The time at which the unknown Evangelist compiled this 
Gospel can be fixed, within narrow limits, with a high degree of 
probability. All the evidence that we have falls into place, if 

'See the notes on v. 21, 22, 48, vii. 23, 24-29, viii. 21, 22, ix. 12, 
X. 16-18, 32, 39, xi. 23, 24, xii. 41, XX. 28, xxii. 34, xxviii. 18; Gore, The 
New Theoiogy and the Old Religion^ pp. 103-108. 


we suppose that he completed his work shortly before or (more 
probably) shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d, 70. 
He used Mark and a translation of the Logia which had been 
collected in * Hebrew' by Matthew. These materials cannot 
well have been in existence much, if at all, before a.d. 65. The 
parenthesis in Mk. xiii. 14, Met him that readeth understand,' is 
probably not to be taken as our Lord's words, directing attention 
to the saying in Daniel, for in Mark Daniel is not mentioned ; 
the parenthetical words are those of the Evangelist, warning the 
reader of his Gospel that, although the time to which the sign 
refers has not yet come, yet it must be near. This seems to 
give us the time of the first march of the Romans on Jerusalem 
(a.d. 66) as about the date for S. Mark's Gospel.^ In xxiv. 15 
our Evangelist retains the parenthesis. But we cannot use the 
same argument as to his date. He does mention ' Daniel the 
Prophet,' and may understand the parenthesis as directing 
attention to the prophecy; or he may have retained Mark's 
warning, although the reason for it had ceased to exist. Never- 
theless, it is possible that both Gospels were completed before 
A.D. 70. 

But our Evangelist seems to have believed that the Second 
Advent would take place very soon, and would be closely con- 
nected with the tribulation caused by the destruction of Jerusalem 
(xvL 28, xxiv. 29, 34). A belief which caused our Lord's words 
to be so arranged as to produce this impression, would not have 
long survived the events of a.d. 70. When a year or two had 
passed, and the Second Advent had not taken place, the belief 
would be found to be erroneous. Therefore, while we can hardly 
place this Gospel as early as a.d. 65, we can hardly place it as 
late as a.d. 75. And, on the whole, a little after 70 is rather 
more probable than a little before. The later date gives more 
time for the publication of Mark and of the Logia in Greek. 
Moreover, 'the king was wroth, and he sent his armies, and 
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city ' (xxii. 7) may 
be a direct reference to the destruction of Jerusalem regarded 
as a judgment on the murderers of the Messiah. 

And there is nothing in the Gospel which requires us to 
place it later than a.d. 75. The famous utterance, ' on this rock 
I will build My church' (xvi. 18), must not be judged by the 
ideas which have gathered round it ' On this rock I will build 
My Israel ' — the new Israel, that is to grow out of the old one, — 
is the meaning, a meaning quite in accordance with thoughts 

^ The statement that EaaeUus in hu Chronicle places the composition 
of the Fiist Gospel a.d. 41s Abraham 2057, is untrue. The date of no 
Gospel is given in the Chronicle. For other statements see the Tonmal oj 
Theoiogua! Studies^ Jan. 1905, p. 203. 

THE DATE xxxiii 

that were current in the first generation of Christians. Still less 
does * tell it unto the Church : and if he refuse to hear the Church 
also' (xviii. 17) point to a late date. The local community, 
either of Jews or of Jewish Christians, such as existed in Palestine 
from the time of Christ onwards, is what is meant. 

This early date is of importance in weighing the historical 
value of file Gospel. At the time when the compiler was at 
work on it many who had known the Lord were still living. 
Most of His Apostles may have been still alive. Oral traditions 
about Him were still current Documents embodying still 
earlier traditions were in existence, and some of them were used 
by our Evangelist It is possible — indeed, it is highly probable 
— that the sayings of Christ, which the Evangelist got from the 
translation of S. Matthew's Logia, and which form such a large 
portion of the Gospel, are the very earliest information which we 
possess respecting our Lord's teaching. In them we get back 
nearest to Him, of whom those sent to arrest Him testified : 
'Never man thus spake,' OvSciror« IXaXi/crcv ovtok avOptorros 
(Jn. viL 46). 

And it was the presence of this element which made the 
First Gospel such a favourite, and gave it so wide a circulation. 
It quite eclipsed S. Mark, and in almost all collections of the 
Gospels took the first place. For many early Christians it was 
probably the only Gospel that they knew, and it sufficed ; it told 
them so much of what the Lord said. With it in their hands 
they could obey the injunction which came direct from God to 
man : * This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; 
hear ye Him ' (xvii. 5). 

There are critics, such as M. Loisy, who would put the date 
of this Gospel some thirty years later, because they are unwilling 
to admit the historical value of its contents. They have a con- 
viction, which is a prejudgment, that certain things cannot have 
happened, and therefore the evidence of those who say that they 
did happen, must be untrustworthy. It must come firom witnesses 
who cannot be contemporary, but who stated what they con- 
sidered to be edifying, or felt to be in harmony with their own 
beliefs, rather than what they knew to be true. In some cases 
they did not mean their narratives to be accepted as literally 
true; they meant them to be understood as symbolical. In 
other cases they invented stories about Jesus, to show that He 
was what they believed Him to be, viz. the promised Messiah 
and the Son of God. Such theories are not sound criticism. 
The true critic is not fond of 'cannot' or 'must' To decide 
a priori that Deity cannot become incarnate, or that incarnate 
Deity must exhibit such and such characteristics, is neither true 
philosophy nor scientific criticism. A Person such as His con- 


temporaries and their immediate followers believed Jesus to be 
is required to explain the facts of Christianity and Christendom 
— Christian doctrine and the Christian Church. If their beliefs 
about Him were erroneous, what is tlie explanation ? 

"The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs" and 
THEIR Relation to the First Gospel. 

In the notes will be found frequent quotations from the 
Testaments, of passages which either in substance or wording 
or both are similar to passages in this Gospel. Some of these 
may be mere coincidences; but the number of parallels is so 
large, and in some cases the resemblance is so dose, that mere 
coincidence cannot be the explanation of all the similarities. A 
considerable number may be the result of independent use of 
current ideas and phrases : yet even these two hypotheses will 
not account for all the resemblances. The two writings, in the 
forms in which they have come down to us, can hardly be 
independent. Either the Gospel has been influenced by 
the Testaments, or the latter has been influenced by the 
Gospel. Dr. Charles, in his invaluable edition of the Testaments, 
argues for the former hypothesis : a paper in the Expositor for 
Dec. 1908 gives reasons for preferring the latter; and in the 
Expositor for Feb. 1909 Dr. Charles repeats his own view. 

The Testaments has long been a literary puzzle. We possess 
the book in Greek, and in subsidiary translations into Armenian, 
I^tin, and Slavonic ; the Latin translation having been made in 
the thirteenth century, from a Greek MS. of the tenth century, 
by Bishop Grosseteste of Lincoln, who thus made the book 
known to Western Christendom. He believed it to be a genuine 
product of Jewish prophecy, with marvellous anticipations of the 
Messiah ; and this view continued until the Revival of Learning. 
The criticism of that age condemned it as a forgery by a Jewish 
Christian, and for a long time it was neglected as worthless. A 
better criticism has shown that the text is composite, and that 
it consists of a Jewish document which has received Christian 
interpolations and alterations. Neither the Latin nor the 
Slavonic is of much value for critical purposes : in determining 
the text of the Testaments we have to rely chiefly upon the Greek 
MSS. and the MSS. of the Armenian version, and it is from a 
study of these that a more correct estimate of the Testaments 
can be obtained. 

Thanks to the labours of modem scholars, among whom it 
will suffice to mention Bousset, Charles, Conybeare, Harnack, 
Schiirer, and Sinker, some important questions have been settled 
beyond reasonable dispute, (i) The original work was not 


Greek, but Hebrew. (2) The author of it was not a Christian, 
but a Jew. (3) Numerous Christian features in the Testaments 
have been introduced by changes of wording and by interpola- 
tions, which are the work of Christian scribes. These three 
points are certain ; but the details of the process by which the 
book reached its extant forms, and the exact amount of the 
alterations made by Christian hands, are not easy to determine. 

Dr. Charles holds that there were two Hebrew recensions, 
from each of which a Greek translation was made, one of which 
is represented by three of the existing Greek MSS. (c, A, and 1), 
and the other by two Greek MSS. {d and g) ; while four Greek 
MSS. (a, fy/f and d) appear to be derived from both the original 
translations.^ The Christian insertions and alterations are prob- 
ably the result of a repeated process and not the work of any 
one hand. They are more numerous in the Greek than in the 
Armenian text, and at first one is inclined to regard absence from 
the Armenian version as a test. Expressions which are in the 
Greek but not in the Armenian might be assumed to have been 
added to the Greek after the Armenian translatipn was made. 
The proposed test, however, is of uncertain value, for the 
Armenian translator was an audacious abbreviator. " On almost 
every page," says Dr. Charles, "he is guilty of unjustifiable 
omissions." Therefore absence from the Armenian version is 
no sure evidence of an interpolation. 

But what concerns us is the large number of passages in the 
Testaments which resemble passages in the N.T. so closely that 
they cannot all be explained as either mere accidents of wording 
or the result of the same influences of thought and language 
telling upon different writers. There is a residuum, of uncertain 
amount, which cannot reasonably be explained by either of these 
hypotheses. In these cases, either the N.T. has influenced the 
text of the Testaments, or the text of the Testaments has in- 
fluenced that of the N.T. 

Dr. Charles is persuaded that in nearly all the cases the 
N.T. has been influenced by the Testaments. He has drawn 
up lists of parallels between the Testaments on the one hand, 
and the Gospels, Acts, Pauline Epistles, Catholic Epistles, and 
the Apocalypse, on the other: and some of these exhibit 
resemblances which are very striking. Moreover, he has not 
tabulated by any means all the resemblances which exist. 

It is remarkable that the parallels with the Gospels are chiefly 
with the First Gospel, those with Mt. being about twice as 
numerous as those with all the other three put together. It is 

' From this view Professor Burkitt dissents [/»umal of Theol, SL, Oct. 
1908) ; also from the view that S. Paul quotes the Testaments. It is more 
probable that a Christian copyist has put S. Paul's words into the Testaments. 


also remarkable that the passages in Mt. which show marked 
resemblance with the Testaments *' are almost exclusively those 
which give the sayings and discourses of our Lord " (Charles, 
p. Ixxviii). "Almost exclusively'' may be too strong; but the 
proportion is large. Dr. Charles explains this remarkable fact 
by the hypothesis that our Lord knew the Testaments and 
adopted some of the thoughts and language which can be found 
there. There would be nothing startling in our Lord's making 
such use of the Testaments, for the morsd teaching in the Testa- 
ments is sometimes of a lofty character. Some of His sasdngs 
may have been suggested by Ecclesiasticus. The two cases, 
however, are not quite parallel We are quite sure that Ecclesi- 
asticus was written long before the Nativity, and therefore 
Christ may have read it ; but we are not sure that the Testa- 
ments had been written when He was bom. 

Dr. Charles argues strongly for a year between B.C. 137 and 
105 as the date of the original Hebrew of the Testaments, and 
we may rest assured that the book cannot have been written 
earlier than that. Hamack (Chron, d. altchrisU Lift. 1897, 
p. 567) thinks that it cannot well be placed earlier than the 
beginning of the Christian era. The problem of date would be 
easier if the Book of Jubilees could be dated, for the connexion 
between the Testaments and Jubilees is so close that they cannot 
be independent of one another; and Schiirer {Gtsch, d, Jiid. 
VoikeSy 3rd ed., iii. p. 259) thinks that it is the author of the Testa- 
ments that has used the Book of Jubilees. There is, however, 
at least one passage in the Testaments which seems to point to 
a time subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem ana of the 

"There the sanctuary (6 vou>$), which the Lord shall choose, 
shall be desolate (iprffio^) through your uncleanness, and ye 
shall be captives unto all the nations. And ye shall be an 
abomination to them, and shall receive reproach and eternal 
shame from the righteous judgment of God " (Levi xv. i, 2). 

Dr. Charles says, " I take these verses as a 3ofta fide predic- 
tion," and adds, "The sanctuary was so laid waste under 
Antiochus Epiphanes : i Mac i. 39." But " ye shall be captives 
unto all the nations " (atxHuVcorot hrttrBt cfe iravra ra Wv^ can 
hardly refer to the persecution under Antiochus. What follows 
these two verses seems to point to something much more com- 
prehensive and permanent " And all who hate you shall rejoice 
at your destruction. And if ye were not to receive mercy 
through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our fathers, not one of our 
seed should be left upon the earth." Comp. Dan v. 13. The 
passage looks like a fictitious prophecy made after the capture 
of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 ; but it is possible that it is an interpola- 


tion inserted after that event, and not part of the original work. 
We must be content to leave the date of the Hebrew original 
an open question, as also the date of the earliest translation into 
Greek. And there is also the question whether the Greek 
translator was a Jew or a Christian. If the latter, then the 
Christianizing of the Testaments may have begun at once ; but 
in any case, whether it began with the translator or with subse- 
quent copyists, it does not seem to have taken place all at one 

It is now admitted by every one that there has been consider- 
able manipulation of the Greek texts of the Testaments in order 
to give them a Christian tone. There have been changes ot 
wording, and there have been insertions. May not many of the 
cases in which the Testaments resemble the N.T. have come 
about in the same manner? May we not suppose that Chris- 
tians have assimilated the wording of the Testaments to the 
wording of the Gospels and Epistles? This possibility is all 
the more probable when the change or the insertion seems to 
have been made somewhat late, because it is found in the later, 
but not in the earlier authorities for the Greek text of the Testa- 
ments; and this Dr. Charles himself points out (see note on 
Judah XXV. 4). Why may it not have taken place as soon as 
the Testaments began to be Christianized? If Christians would 
put their own words into the Testaments in order to make them 
testify of Christ, much more would they be likely to put the 
words of the N.T. into them. 

This hypothesis, that it is the N.T. which has influenced the 
Testaments rather than the Testaments which has influenced 
the N.T. has considerable advantages. It solves one difliculty 
which the other hypothesis fails to solve, and it avoids another 
difficulty into which the other hypothesis leads us. 

I. Why do the parallels with Mt. so greatiy exceed in number 
the parallels with the other Gospels ? In particular, why do the 
large majority of the passages in the Testaments which recall 
our Lord's teaching recall that teaching as recorded in Mt. ? 
If Christ knew the Testaments, and adopted much of its moral 
instruction and language, why does this influence show itself so 
frequently in His sayings as reported in the First Gospel, and 
so seldom in His sayings as reported in the other three? If the 
Testaments did influence the form of Christ's teaching, this 
influence would be evident, if not in all Gospels alike, at any 
rate in Lk. almost as often as in Mt. But if it was the Gospels 
which influenced the Testaments, then at once we see why it 
was Mt which exercised the most influence. The Gospel 
according to Matthew, as soon as it ^as published, became 
most popular. It caused the Gospel according to Mark, which 


was in the field before it, to be almost neglected; and the 
Third Gospel never attained to equal popularity. In the 
Christian literature of the first centuries, quotations from Mt. 
and allusions to Mt. are far more frequent than references to 
the other Gospels; perhaps twice as frequent as references to 
Lk. or Jn., and six or seven times as frequent as references to 
Mk. This fact goes a long way towards showing that it is the 
Gospels that have influenced the Testaments. If they did so, 
then the influence of Mt. would be sure to be greater than that 
of the other three ; which is exactly what we find 

2. If the influence of the Testaments on the Gospels, on 
the Pauline Epistles, and on the Catholic Epistles was so great 
as to produce scores of similarities in thought and wording, this 
influence would not be likely to cease quite suddenly as soon 
as the N.T. was complete; it would probably have continued 
to work and to manifest itself in early Christian writings. But, 
as Dr. Charles himself points out, " the Testaments have not 
left much trace on Patristic literature" (p. Ixxv). He has col- 
lected seven apparent parallels between the Shepherd of Hermas 
and the Testaments, and he thinks that these suffice to show 
that Hermas knew and used the Testaments. The conclusion 
may be correct, but the evidence is not convincing. Three 
of the parallels may be mere coincidences; and in two cases 
the agreement with passages in Scripture is closer than the 
agreement with the Testaments, so that we may be sure that 
Hermas is recalling the Bible and not the Testaments. Thus, 
" Do not partake of God's creature, in selfish festivity, but give 
a share to those who are in want" may come from Job xxxi. i6, 
Prov. xxii. 9, Ep. of Jer. 28, or Lk. iii. 11 ; and ''Speak against 
no one" certainly comes from Prov. xii. 13 or Jas. iv.' 11 rather 
than from Issachar iiL 4. Of the two remaining parallels one 
is striking : " There are two angels with man, one of righteous- 
ness and one of wickedness" {Mand, vi. ii. i): "Two spirits 
wait upon man, the spirit of truth and the spirit of error" {Judah 
XX. i). But the former may come from Barnabas xviii. i, and 
perhaps Origen thought so, for he quotes first Hermas and then 
Barnabas (he Prin. iii. ii. 4); and both in Barnabas and in 
Hermas we have ayycXoi and not irvtvfiaTa, "The spirit of 
truth and the spirit of error " is verbatim the same as i Jn. iv. 6, 
and this rather than Hermas may be the source of Judah's 
words. If the parallels between Hermas and the Testaments 
suffice to make dependence probable, it is possible that Hermas 
is the original The Shepherd was written about a.d. 150 and 
quickly became very popular. Before a.d. 200 it was better 
known than 2 and 3 Jn., Jude, or 2 Peter, and was often regarded 
as Scripture. It is not impossible that in some of the parallels 


It is the Shepherd that has influenced the text of the Testaments. 
In any case, it remains somewhat uncertain whether Hermas 
knew the Testaments. 

There is a fragment (No. zvii.) attributed (but perhaps 
wrongly, as Hamadk thinks) to Irenseus, which is thought ta 
refer to the Testaments: '^But from Levi and Judah according 
to the flesh He was bom as king and priest" This doctrine 
about the Messiah is found in Simeon vii. i, 2. But, as neither 
the authorship of the fragment nor the reference of the passage 
is certain, this is somewhat slender evidence for the hypothesis, 
which in itself is quite credible, that the Testaments were known 
to Irenseus. 

Not until we reach Origen, and the later years of his life, do 
we get an indisputable reference to the Testaments. In his 
Homilies on Joshua (xv. 6), which were written about a.d. 245- 
50, he mentions the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs by 
name, as a book which, whatever its merits, was not included in 
the Canon. He calls it '' a certain book,'' as if he did not much 
expect his readers to know it The fact that he nowhere else 
quotes it need not mean that he himself did not know it well, 
but only that he did not like it. Its muddling Christology, the 
result ii Christianizing a Jewish book by frequent re-touching, 
would not attract him. 

A single passage in Origen, therefore, written in the middle 
of the third century, is the earliest certain evidence of a Christian 
writer being acquainted with a book which is supposed to have 
influenced, and in some cases to have influenced very strongly 
indeed, nearly every writer in the N.T. Let us leave Hermas 
and Irenseus on one side, or even admit that they knew it. 
How is it that we do not find clear traces of this most influential 
document in either Clement of Rome, or Ignatius, or Polycarp, 
or Barnabas, or the Letter to Diognetus, or the Didache, or 
Aristides, or Justin Martyr, or Athenagoras, or Tertullian, or 
Clement of Alexandria? The total absence of traces of 
influence between a.d. 95 and 150, and the very scanty signs 
of possible influence between 150 and 250 render it somewhat 
improbable that our Lord and St Paul, to mention no others, 
frequently adopted the thoughts and words of this apocryphal 
Jewish writing. What can explain the sudden and almost total 
cessation of influence upon Christian literature about a.d. 100 ? 
If, however, it was the writings of the N.T. which influenced the 
early Christians who adapted the Testaments to Christian 
sentiment by frequent alterations, we have an intelligible 
explanation of the literary facts. These adaptations are known 
to have taken place, and seem to have begun early, for it was 
probably a Christianized edition that was known to Origen; 



Otherwise he would hardly have raised the question about its 
being included in the Canon or not. 

How could the Testaments exercise such enormous influence on 
the N.T. as Dr. Charles supposes, and yet, with the possible excep- 
tions of Hernias and Irenseus, leave no trace of being known to 
any writer earlier than Origen? or to writers later than Origen? 

Dr. Charles answers this question by asking several others. 
''How is it that the Gospel of Mark exercised such a pre- 
ponderating influence on the First and Third Gospels and yet 
has left no certain trace in Barnabas, the Didache, i Clement, 
Ignatius, Polycarp, 2 Clement? Or, again, how is it that the 
Similitudes of Enoch exercised such a great influence on the 
Fourth Gospel and certain passages of the Synoptics, and yet 
are not quoted by a single Apostolic Father? Or how is it that 
I Thessalonians, the earliest Pauline Epistle, has left no trace on 
Barnabas, the Didache, i Clement, Polycarp, 2 Clement? I 
need not further press this argument" {Expositor^ Feb. 1909, 
pp. 117, 118). 

None of the three instances given by Dr. Charles is a true 
parallel; for two reasons. No one asserts that Mark or 
I Thessalonians has had such an influence upon nearly all 
the writers of the N.T. as Dr. Charles attributes to the Testa- 
ments; and perhaps he himself would not attribute as much 
influence to the Similitudes of Enoch as he attributes to the 
Testaments. Secondly, it could not be said that these three 
writings have left no trace of influence upon any Christian writer 
between S. John and Origen, with the possible exception of 
Hermas and Irenaeus. Mark was probably known to Hennas, 
Justin Martyr, and some of the early Gnostics; certainly to 
Irenasus, Clement of Alexandria, TertuUian, and other writers 
in abundance, i Thessalonians was perhaps known to Ignatius, 
Hermas, and the author of the Didache ; certainly to Marcion, 
Irenseus, Clement, TertuUian, and later writers. And Dr. 
Charles has shown that Enoch by no means passed into oblivion 
between a.d. 100 and 250, or even later. Therefore the literary 
history of these three writings does not explain what is supposed 
to have taken place respecting the Testaments. 

Dr. Charles supposes that some one has asked '' how it is 
that the Testaments have so largely influenced S. Matthew and 
S. Luke, and have hardly, if at all, influenced S. Mark." That 
question is easily answered, but it is not the question which has 
been raised. The question is. How is it that the Testaments 
(according to the view of Dr. Charles) have influenced S. Matthew 
about twice as much as they have influenced the other three 
Gospels put together? That is a question which deserves an 
answer. Let us look at some of the facts. 


Matthew. Thb Testaments. 

ii. 2. Where is He that b born Levi xviii. 3. His star shall arise 
Kmg of the Jews, for we saw His in heaven ^as of a king (dyareXei 
star in its rising {t6p Airripa iv r^ Aarpoi^ airw h otpop^ (bs paaCKiw), 
dmrDXj). Num. xxiv. 17. dFareXei Hffrpop. 

iiL 14. I have need to be baptized Judah xxiv. i. And no sin shall be 
of Thee, and comest Thou to me ? found in him. 

16. Lo, the heavens were opened 2. And the heavens shall be opened 
unto Him (^ye^tfiy0xu> ot o^fiapol)f unto him (Atfotyi/jfforrai ir* ainQ d 
and He saw the Spirit of God de- odporoOi to pour out the spirit, the 
scending as a dove, and coming upon blessing of the Holy Father. 
Him ; and lo, a voice out of the Levi xviii. 6. The heavens shall be 
hoivens, sa^nng, This is My beloved opened, and from the temple of glory 
Soo, in whMQ I am well pleased. shall come upon him sanctification, 

with the Father's voice as from 
Abraham to Isaac 

7. And the glory of the Most High 
shall be spoken over him, and the 
spirit of understanding and sancti- 
fication shall rest on him in the 

13. And the Lord shall rejoice in 

His children, and be well pleased in 

his beloved ones for ever. 

IT. If. Then the devil leaveth Naphtali viii. 4. The devil shall 

Him ; and behold Angels came and flee from you. . . . And the Angels 

ministered unto Him. shall cleave to you. 

Levi iii. 5. The hosts of the Angels 
are ministering. 
iv. 16. The people which sat in xviii. 4. He shall shine forth as the 
darkness saw a great light, and to sun in the earth, and shall take away 
them which sat in the region and all darkness from under heaven, 
shadow of death, to them did light 
spring up. 

V. 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, Judah xxv. 4. They who were poor 
for tbeirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, for the Lord's sake shall be made 

4. Blessed are they that mourn, for And they who have died in grief 
thgr shall be comforted. shall arise in joy. 

o. Blessed are they that huneer And they who have been in want 
(ol wttwQrrtt), for they shall be filled {49 irtlvin) shall be filled (xo/>rcur- 
{Xoprra^iHiaorrai), ^i^orrcu). 

10. Blessed are they that have been Dan iv. 6. If yt suffer loss volun- 
persecuted for righteousness' sake. tarily or involuntarily, be not vexed. 

19. Whoever shall do and teach Levi xiii. 9. Whoever teaches noble 
them, he shall be called great in the things and does them shall be en- 
kingdom of heaven. throned with kings. 

21. Ye have heard that it was said Gad iv. 6. Hatred would slay the 
to them of old time, Thou shalt not living, and those that have sinned in 
trill ; and whosoever shall kill shall a small thing it would not suffer to 
be in danger of the judgment : live. 

v. I. Hatred therefore is evil, for it 
maketh small things to be great 
21. but I say unto you, that every 5. Fearing to offend the Lord, he 
one who is angry with his brothei will do no wrong to any man, even in 
shall be in danger of the judgment. thought. 


28. Every one that looketh on a Benjamin viiL 2. He that hath a 
woman to lust after her hath com- pure mind in love looketh not on a 
mitted adultery with her already in woman with thought of fornication, 
his heart. 

42. Give to him that asketh thee, 2^bulon vii 2. Show compassion 
and from him that would borxow of and mercy without partiality to all, 
thee turn not thou away. and grant to every man with a good 


44. Love your enemies, and pray Joseph zviiL 2. If any one willeth 

for them that persecute yon ; that ye to do evil to you, do you in doing 

may be sons of your Father which is him good pray for him, and ve shaU 

in neaven. be redeemed of the Lord nom all 

vL 10. Thy will be done, as in Naphtali iii 2. Sun moon and 
heaven, so on earth. stars change not iheir order ; so do 

ye also chsmge not the law of God in 

the disorderhness of your doings. 

vi. 14. If ye forgive men their tres- Zebulon viii. i. Have compassion 

passes, your heavenly Father will also towards every man in mercy, tnat the 

forgive you. Lord also may have compassion and 

mercy on you. 
16. [The hypocrites] disfigure their 6. [The spirit of revenge] dis- 
fiices (d^oy^^ovo-i rd rpdffiara a&rQp), figureth the nee {t6 Tpdfftarw d^r- 

19. Lay not up for yourselves Levi jdii. 5. Do righteousness upon 
treasure upon the earth; but lay up the earth, that ye may find it in 
for yourselves treasures in heaven. heaven. 

22, 23. If thine e^e be single (cdv 6 Issadiar iii. 4. Walking in single- 
6^aK/tAt ffov drXovt 2) . . . But if ness of eye {iv d^oXfuap dTX^njn). 
thine eye be evil (^dr hi 6 64t$aKtiM iv. 6. He walketh in singleness of 
0-ov rcnip^ i), thy whole body shall soul, shunning eyes that are evil 
be full oi darkness (o'corei^^r). {d^aXfto^ ronipoit). 

Benjamin iv. 2. An eye full of 
darkness {ffKoretwdif). 
24. No man can be a slave {dov- Judah xviii. 6. For he is a slave 
Xetffiy) to two masters. ... Ye (dovKt^t) to two opposite passions, 
cannot serve God and mammon. and cannot obey Goa. 

vii. 2. With what measure ye mete, Zebulon v. 3. Have mercy in your 
it shall be measured unto you. hearts, because whatever a man doedi 

to his neighbour, so the Lord will deal 
with him. 
viii. 17. Himself took our infirmi- Joseph zviL 7. All their suffering 
ties, and bare our diseases. was my suffering, and all their sick- 

ness was my infirmity. 
24-27. Tks Storm an the Lake, Naphtali vi. 4-9. The Storm on the 

ix. 8. When the multitudes saw it, Judah zxv. 5. All the peoples shall 
they were afraid and glorified {kB^a- glorify (do^do'oiM'i) the Lord tor ever. 
ffvr) God. 

z. I. He ^ve them authority over Benjamin v. 2. The unclean spirits 
unclean spints. will fly from ^u. 

16. Become therefore wise (yUfwBt Naphtali viiL la Become therefore 
o9y 4>pbvifiM) as serpents. mrise m God and prudent (yU^taBt o0r 

0'60o( iv Btf Kol ^pSvifJMi), 
39. He that loseth his life for My Judah xxv. 4. They who are put to 
sake shall find it death for the Lord's sake shall awake 

to life. 


zL 19. The Son of Man came eat- 
ing and drinking. 

27. He to whom the Son willeth to 
reveal Him. 

a^ For I am meek and lowly 
(r/igof Kol Tav€t9&s) of heart. 

ziL 15. IVith^red Hand restored. 

35. The evil man oat of his evil 
treasure bringeth forth evil things. 

45. Then goeth he and taketh with 
himself seven other spirits more 
wicked than himself, and they enter 
in and dwell there. 

ziii. 40. In the end of the world 
(h TJ cvrrekelg, rod <iU3pot). 

zv. 14. If the blind lead the blind 
both shall fall into a pit (eZf p60vww). 

xvi. 27. He shall render imto 
eveiy man according to his deeds. 

27. The Son of Man shall come in 
the glory of His Father with His 

zviii. 15. If thy brother sin against 
thee, go show him his fault b^een 
him imd thee alone. Comp. Lk. 
xvn. 3. 

35. So shall also My heavenly 
Father do unto you^ if ye forgive not 
every one his brother bom your 

six. 28. In the regeneration . . . 
ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, 
judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 

29. And evetr one that hath left 
houses, or brethren, or sisters . . . 
for My Name's sake shall receive 
manifold (ToXXaTXao-fora). 

sdi. IK. They took counsel how 
they might ensnare {wayiie^auffuf) 
Him in His talk. 

Thou Shalt love the Lord thy God 
wi^ all thy heart 

39. Thou shalt love thy neighbour 

zziii 34* Pers&euiian foretold. 

3S. Behold your house is left unto 
you [desolate^ 

Asher vii. 3. The Most High shall 
visit the earth, commg Himself as 
man, with men eating and drinking. 

Levi zviii. 2. The Lord shall raise 
up a new priest, to whom all the 
words of the Lord shall be revealed. 

Dan. vi. 9. For he is true and 
long-suffering, meek and lowly 
(r^ot KoX raireivht), 

Simeon iL 13. fViihored Hand 

Asher L ^. Seeing that treasure of 
the inclination hath been filled with 
an evil spirit 

Reuben ii. 2. Seven spirits there- 
fore were ^ven against man. 

Naphtah viii. 6. And the devil 
dwelleth in him as his own vessel. 

Levi z. 2. At the end of the world 

Reuben ii. 9. Desire leadeth the 
youth as a blind man to a pit {irl 

Levi zviii. 2. He shall ezecute a 
righteous judgment upon the earth for 
a multitude of days. 

5. The Angels of the glory of the 
presence of the Lord shall be glad in 

Gad vi. 3. If any one sin against 
thee, speak peace to him, and in thy 
soul hold not guile, and if he repent 
and confess forgive him. 

7. But if he is shameless and per- 
sists in his wickedness, even so for- 
give him from the heart and give to 
God the taking vengeance. 

Judah zxv. i. Abraham and Isaac 
and Jacob shall arise unto life, and I 
and my brethren shall be chie& of the 
tribes of IsraeL 

Zebulon vi. 6. For he who gives 
a share to his neighbour, receives 
manifold (roXAarXM-toya) from the 

Joseph vii. i. She looked about 
how to ensnare (ra^idevo-at) me. 

Dan V. 3. Love the Lord inall your 
and one another in a true heart 

Judah zzL 9. PtrseciUionforeML, 
Levi zv. I. Therefore the Temple, 
which the Lord shall choose, snail 
be desolate through your undean- 



xxiv. 11) 24. False Prophets fwe- 

xziv. 29. The sun shall be 
darkened. Comp. zxvii. 45. 

31. They shall gather together 
{hriffwi^ovaip) His elect from the four 

XXV. 33. He shall set the sheep on 
His right hand, but the goats on the 

35. I was an hungered, and ye gaVe 
Me meat ; I was a stranger, and ye 
took Me in ; 36. I was sick, and ye 
visited Me ; I was in prison, and ye 
came unto Me. 

xxvi. 70. I know not what thou 

xxvii. 6. It is not lawful to put 
them into the treasury, since it is the 
price of blood (rifiii af/uiro$). 

24. I am innocent {iB^ii elfu) of 
the blood of this righteous man. 

28. They stripped Him and put on 
Him a scarlet rooe. 

31. They took off from Him the 
robe, and put on Him His own 
garments, and led Him away to 
crucify Him. 

26. When he had scourged Jesus. 

30, 31. They smote {hvrrw) Him 
on the head. And when they had 
mocked Him. 

46. Why hast Thou forsaken Me ? 
{Itfarl fu iyKorikares ;). 

51. The veil of the Temple was rent 
(t6 KaraxirofffUL ro^i vaod iox^^v)' 

51. The rocks were rent (al xH-pai 

45. There was darkness all over 
the land. 

51. The earth was shaken (1^ yij 

xxviii. 2. There was a great earth- 
quake {ff€tfffjLot iy4v€To ftiyas), 

viii. 24. There was a great earth- 
Quake in the sea (<rct<r/iif fyvrro irrj 

Jodah xxL 9. False PropAsts fire- 

Levi iv. i. The sun being darkened 
(h. A). Other texts, 'ouenched.' 

Naphtali viii. 3. Shall sather 
together (iTurwd^ei) the righteous 
from among the Gentiles. 

Benjamin x. 6. Then shall ye see 
Enoch, Noah, and Shem, and 
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, 
rising on the right hand in glad- 

Joseph L 5. I was kept in starva- 
tion, and the Lord Himself -nourished 
me; 6. I was alone, and God com- 
forted me ; I was sick, and the Lord 
visited me ; I was in prison, and my 
God showed fiivour unto me. 

ziii. 2. I know not what thou 

Zebulon iii. 3. We will not eat it, 
because it is the price of our brother's 
blood (ri/i^ af/Mirof ). 

Levi X. 2. I am innocent {A$f6s 
elfu) of your ungodliness and trans- 

2^bnlon iv. 10. They stripped off 
from Joseph his coat . . . and put 
upon him the garment of a slave. 

Benjamin ii. 3. When they had 
stripped me of my coat, they gave 
me to the Ishmaelites ; and they 
gave me a loin-cloth, and scourged 
me and bade me run. 

J oseph ii. 3. I was smitten {ir^^Siiw), 
1 was scoffed at. Comp. Lk. xxiii. 

4. The Lord doth not forsake 

{o^K iyKaTa\eir€i) those that fear 


6. For a little space He departeth', 
to try the inclination of the soul. 

Levi X. 3. The veil of the Temple 
shall be rent (0-XM-^erai rb iraraW- 
TCurfUL ToO vaod), 

iv. I. When the rocks are being 
rent {irerp&p o'Xii'ofUptop) and the sun 
darkened. Other texts, 'quenched.* 

iiL 9. The earth and the abysses 
are shaken (4 y^ koI al dfivecin 


These tables give us more than sixty instances of resemblances 
between the Testaments and the First Gospel, of which nearly 
forty are concerned with the words of oar Lord. More than 
twenty come from passages which have no corresponding 
passage in either Mk. or Lk. And in about ten of those which 
are in both Mt and Lk. the possible parallel in the Testaments 
is doser to Mt than to Lk. The preponderating similarity 
between the Testaments and Mt is therefore strong, and it can 
be readily explained, if it was the Gospels which influenced the 
Testaments. What is the explanation, if the Testaments 
influenced the Gospels? 

In several instances the Armenian version omits the words 
which produce the resemblance ; and that fact creates a certain 
amount of probability that the resemblance is due to changes 
which are later than that version. Again, in some of the 
passages where these resemblances are found there are difler- 
ences of reading, and the resemblance is confined to one of the 
variants. Zehulon viii. 6 (i8) is instructive. We have three 
readings : mx to irpoo-coirov d^ovtiCct {c h t)\ r^ virap(iv d^av^ci 
(ae/f A, S*): 6 yap fjorqaucoKos airXayxya iXiov9 ottK i)(€i (fig). 
The first of these recalls Mt vi. i6; the last recalls Lk. i. 78. 
Are we to suppose that Mt knew the one reading, and Lk. die 
other? Or did one scribe of the Testaments remember Mt., and 
the other Lk. ? In Levi x. 3 (59) Dr. Charles himself suggests 
that instead of €r)(urOr^rrai rh Karajrerairfjui rov vaov we ought 
perhaps to read arp(ur^^cT(u to IfSv/ao, for ivSv/ui is found in 
most texts : and certainly " so as not to cover your shame '' is a 
more fitting consequence of rending garments than of rendins 
the Temple veil. We may therefore suppose that the reading to 
Karavenurfui rov vaov comes from Mt xxvii. 51= Mk. xv. 38 « 
Lk. xxiii. 45, rather than that the phrase in the Gospels comes from 
the Testaments. In Benjamin viii. 2(13) we have three different 
readings, differing in the amount of resemblance to Mt v. 28, one 
having very little resemblance. In Issachar viii. 4 and iv. 6 (20) 
the words which produce the resemblance are wanting in im- 
portant witnesses. In Asher vii. 3 (28) Dr. Charles marks '' as 
man, with men eating and drinking " as an interpolation ; and 
he does the same in Dan vi. 9 (30) with '' for he is true and 
long-suffering, meek and lowly." May we not suspect that some 
of the other resemblances are due to a similar cause ? And it 
should be noticed that most of the resemblances are in Levi and 
Judahy just the two Testaments which would be most likely to 
be Christianized ; while very few are to be found in Simeon, 
Issachar, or Asher. 

To sum up. A few of these similarities between the Testa- 
ments and the N.T. may be accidental coincidences. A great 


many may be due to independent employment of current ideas 
and phrases. The remainder may be the production of 
Christian translators or copyists, who consciously or un- 
consciously assimilated the wording of the Testaments to the 
words of the N.T., and especially to the words of the First 

Conybeare regards it as proved that the Greek text of the 
Testaments is ^'a paraphrase of an old Aramaic midrash, in- 
terpolated by generations of Christians" i^Jew, EncycL xii. p. 
113): ^^^ Journal of Theological Studies^ April 1909, p. 423. 
In paraphrasing, there is almost boundless opportunity for 
assimilating the language of the original to language which, to 
the paraphraser, may be either more familiar, or may seem to 
be either more pleasing or more edifying. Paraphrasing and 
interpolating will account for a large number of the resemblances 
between the Testaments and the New Testament. See J. Arm. 
Robinson, Hastings' DB, ii. p. 50 1^ 




I. 1-17. His Genealogy, 

'The Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ.' This title is 
probably meant to cover more than the mere pedigree, but 
perhaps not the whole Gospel. We may regard it as a heading 
to the first two chapters, the Gospel of the Infancy. In Gen. 
V. I, * the book of the generations of Adam ' covers not only the 
genealogy from Adam to Japhet mixed with a certain amount of 
narrative, but also the narrative of ' the wickedness of man ' in 
the time of Noah (v. i-vi. 8).^ The Evangelist no doubt had 
the Septuagint of Genesis in his mind when he penned this title ; 
and it was probably from the Septuagint that he compiled the 
pedigree : but he may have found it already compiled in some 
Jewish archives. Jews are tenacious of their pedigrees; and, 
even if the statement of Julius Africanus (Eus. H, E,\, 7) be 
correct, that Herod the Great ordered the genealogies of old 
Jewish families to be destroyed, in order to hide the defects of 
his own pedigree, the statement causes no difficulty. Such an 
order would be evaded, and in any case there were the Scrip- 
tures, in which the descent could be traced. Josephus was able 
to give his f)edigree, as he found it " described in the public 
records" {Vita^ i). The evidence of Africanus is valuable, in 
that he claims to have got information from the family, who 
gloried in their noble extraction, and in his referring both 
genealogies (that in Lk. as well as that in Mt.), as a matter of 
course^ to Joseph. The theory that the one in Lk. is Mary*s is not 

* At Gen. vi. 9 we have a second title : * These are the generations of 
Noah.' In Mt. there is no second title, which is in favour of the view that 
the title in ver. i is meant to cover the whole Gospel. 


worthy of consideration.^ Neither Jew nor Gentile would derive 
the birthright of Jesus from His mother. In the eye of the law, 
Jesus was the heir of Joseph, and therefore it is Joseph's pedigree 
that is given. As the heir of Joseph, Jesus was the heir of David ; 
and hence there is no inconsistency in the fact that precisely the 
two Gospels which record the Vii^gin-birth are the two which give 
the pedigree of Joseph. That Jesus was the *son of David' 
seems to have been generally admitted (xii. 33, xv. 32, xx. 30, 31, 
xxi. 9, 15), and we do not read that His Messiahship was ever 
questioned on the ground that He was not descended from 
David. On the other hand, our Lord Himself does not seem 
to have based any claim upon this descent, which might have 
looked like a claim to an earthly kingdom. Indeed, the difficult 
passage, xxii. 43-45, shows that He was willing that the Davidic 
descent of the Messiah should be questioned, rather than that 
it should be supposed that the Messiah was a mere political 
deliverer. Whether or no the details in the two pedigrees are in 
all cases correct, there need be no doubt that the main facts 
which they illustrate are historical, viz. that Joseph was of 
Davidic origin, and therefore descended from the father of the 
Jewish race and from the father of mankind : and it is quite 
possible that Mary also was descended from David.' 

The fondness of our Evangelist for numerical groups, and 
especially for triplets, has been pointed out (p. xix). Hence the 
threefold division of the pedigree. The choice of fourteen may 
be explained as either twice seven, or as the numerical value of 
the three letters in the Hebrew name of David; 4 + 6 + 4= 14.* 
In our present text the third division has only thirteen names, 
and elsewhere there is compression in order to get the right 
number: 'begat' does not in all cases mean 'was the actual 
father of.' But the precise points of division are significant In 
David (ver. 6) the family became royal ; at the Captivity the 
royalty was lost (ver. 11) j in * Jesus, who is called Christ' (ver. 
16), the royalty is recovered. 

The names of women, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of 
Uriah, inserted in the pedigree are remarkable. Ruth was a 
Moabitess and not a Jewess, and the other three had been guilty 
of gross sins. They are evidently mentioned of deli^rate 
purpose. But what purpose? It is difficult to believe that the 

^ The theory is earlier than Annius of Viterbo {c, a.d. 1496). See on 
Rev. iv. 7 in the commentary attributed to Victorinus (Migne, P, Z. 

▼. 324). 

^ In the second century it was commonly believed that Maiy was of the 
&mily of David; Justin M., Try. 43, 45, 100 ; Irenseus, in. xxL 5 ; Tert. 
Adv, Jud, 9 ; Ascension of Isaiah, x. 2 ; Gosp. of the Nativity of Mary, 
L I. 

* Interpreter^ January 1906, p. 199. 


Evangelist is suggesting a parallel between them and the Virgin 
mother; and it is not easy to see how their inclusion in Uie 
genealogy is any answer to the slander which circulated among 
the Jews in the second century, and possibly in the first, that 
Jesus was bom out of wedlock and was the son of a paramour. 
It is more likely that this parade of names that might be 
supposed to be unfit for insertion in the pedigree of the Messiah 
is intended to teach that He who ' came not to call the righteous, 
but sinners' (iz. 13), and who so commended the faith of those 
who were not of Israel (viiL 10, xv. 28; comp. Lk. xvii. 18, 
six. 5), was Himself descended from flagrant sinners and from a 

The difficulties connected with the details of the two 
pedigrees have been abundantly discussed in commentaries 
and in Dictionaries of the Bible, as well as in separate treatises, 
and to these the reader is referred. It is sufficient to say here 
that, although the difficulties are not such as to convict the 
pedigrees of being fictitious, it cannot be said that the proposed 
solutions of the difficulties are in most cases satisfactory. That 
there are errors in both lists of names is neither unhkely nor very 
important Errors respecting matters of far greater moment can 
be shown to exist in the Bible, and there is nothing that need 
perplex us if errors are found here. 

The reading in ver. 16 is uncertain, and it is possible that no Greek MS. 
has preserved the original text. If in expressing; the legal relationship 
between Jesus and Joseph the Evangelist used wor£ which might be under- 
stood as expressing actual paternity, such words would be likely to be 
changed, and perhaps altered in more wajm than one. Whatever the reading, 
it is quite certain from what follows what the writer means. See Sanday, 
Outlines of ike Life of Christ, pp. 197-200 ; Burkitt, Evangelion da- 
Mepharreshe, ii> p> 262; Nestle, Textual Criticism of the N.T, pp. 248, 
249; Kenyon, Textual Criticism of the N,T. pp. 112, 115, 131, 132; 
I^ibn, Einleitimg^ ii pp. 292, 293. 

I. 18-86. The MessiMs Supernatural Birth, 

It is evident that the Virgin-birth did not belong to the main 
stream of Apostolic tradition. The two narratives of it come 
from private sources, Matthew's from Joseph, Luke's from Mary. 
Here we have the husband's impressions, his dismay and 
perplexity, his humane decision, and his submission to the Divine 
revelation. There we have the mother's impressions, her trouble 
and amazement, and her submission to the Divine decree. The 
two narratives are wholly independent, as their great diiferences 
show. These differences do not amount to contradictions, 
though we do not know how to harmonize them; and they 


are confined to details.^ They confirm the general tmstworthi 
ness of each narrative, for neither can have been based on the 
other. The two accounts agree, not only as to the main fact of 
the Virgin-birth, but also as to the manner of it, — ^that it took 
place through the agency of the Holy Spirit Aiid this agree- 
ment cannot be due to the influence of the Old Testament upon 
both writers. There is no such operation of the Holy Spirit on 
a virgin in the Old Testament, in which the very expression 
' Holy Spirit' is rare. And elsewhere in the New Testament the 
Incarnation is indicated in a totally different way (Jn. i. 14). 
And the two narratives agree with regard to four other points, 
besides the two central facts just mentioned. They both say 
that, at the time when the Divine will was made known to Mary 
and to Joseph, the two were espoused to one another, that the 
Child was to be called 'Jesus,' that He was bom at Bethlehem 
in Judaea, and that the parents brought Him up at Nazareth. 
The account in Matthew is further confirmed by its accuracy 
with regard to Jewish feeling and Law. Joseph's attitude is 
indicated with great naturalness and delicacy, and the necessity 
for divorce, although the marriage had not yet taken place, is 
clearly shown. With the Jews, espousal was much more serious 
than an ' engagement ' is with us, and could be severed only by 

The delicacy and sobriety of both narratives are further signs 
of historic reality. It is true that more or less analogous stories 
are to be found both in pagan and in Jewish literature. But 
Gentile readers would feel the unspeakable difference between 
Luke's narrative and the impure legends about intercourse between 
mortals and deities in heathen mythology ; and Jewish readers, 
if they compared this chapter wiUi the coarse imaginations of 
their own people in the Book of Enoch (vL, xv., bdx., Ixxxvi., cvL), 
would feel a similar contrast. And Christian legends exhibit the 
like instructive contrast The Apocryphal Gospels, when they 
make additions to the Canonical Gospels, show that, even with 
these to copy from, the early Christians could produce nothing 
similar. Their inventions are distressing in their unseemli- 
ness. If the two Evangelists had sought material in legends 
of pagan or Jewish or Christian origin, we should have had 
something very different from the narratives which have been 
the joy and the inspiration of Christendom through countless 

' " Between these two accounts of Mt. and Lk. no contradiction exists** 
(O. Holtzmann, Lift of Jesus ^ p. 85). As to the witness of S. Mark, see 
Vincent W^Mi, Journal of Theological Studies, April 1907, p. 448. 

* Apparently Joseph had made up his mind that divorce was the only 
thing possible ; ipov\'ij$ri dxtXOaai^ not ifituCkno : Mvfiii$4rrot, not 
i¥$v/iovfUwov (19, 20). 


• • 


And each Evangelist gives his account of the marvel as 
historical He believes it himself, and is confident that it will 
carry conviction. And it is not easy to see how either narrative 
could have originated without an historical foundation. Nothing 
in early Christian literature, warrants us in believing that a writer 
of the first or second century could have imagined such things 
and described them thus. As the other two Gospels show, the 
story of the Virgin-birth is not required to explain the history of 
the Ministry, Passion, and Resurrection.^ This history, although 
it is greatly illuminated when the Virgin-birth is added, is quite 
intelligible without it, and probably many of the first Christians 
passed away without ever receiving this illuminating addition to 
their faith. Moreover, both narratives are intensely Jewish in tone ; 
and it is not likely that Judaism, with its very high estimate of 
the blessings of marriage, would have invented either of them. 

Of the two accounts, that by S. Luke is probably nearer to 
the original source. There is nothing improbable in the hypo- 
thesis that he received it, possibly in writing, from Mary herself. 
She perhaps kept it to herself (Lk. ii. 52) till late in life ; and, if 
there was any one between her and the Evangelist; it is not likely 
that the narrative passed through many hands before it reached 
him. With Joseph's account of the matter it may have been 
otherwise. He seems to have died long before his wife, and 
what he had to tell may have passed through many hands before 
it was written down as we have it here. One may conjecture 
that James, the Lord's brother, was one of those who handed it 
on to the Evangelist 

It has been urged that the double revelation indicates fiction ; 
if a Divine announcement had been really made to either Mary 
or Joseph, a repetition of it to the other would have been need- 
less. This is not sound criticism. The annunciation to Mary 
was necessary, in order to save her from cruel perplexity as to 
her subsequent condition. An annunciation to Joseph was 
equally necessary : he could not have believed so amazing a 
story, if he had had only Mary's word for it 

Again, it has been urged that both narratives are to be 
distrusted, because here Joseph receives the Divine announce- 
ments in dreams, while in Lk. Mary receives them in her 
waking moments. Certainly it is possible that the supernatural 
agency is in each case due to the imagination of the writer : he 
knew that a revelation was made, and he conjectured the way in 
which the Divine message was communicated. But it is also 

^ Both S. Mark and S. John confirm the Virgin-birth, though they do 
act mention it. Mark calls Jesus the ' Son of Mary ' (vi. 3) and the ' Son of 
God' (i. i), bnt he nowhere calls Him the Son of Joseph. John sometimes 
oonects the earlier Gospels, bat he does not correct the Virgin-birth (i. 14). 


possible that the mode of communication was in each case 
suited to the character of the person who received it Mt 
does not always give us dreams or object to Angels (iv. ii, 
xxviii. 5-7); nor does S. Luke do the opposite (Acts xvL 9, 
xviiL 9, 10). The important question is, whether God did com- 
municate this gracious mystery, first to Mary and then to 
Joseph. The precise mode of communication is of litttle 
importance. And it is worth noting that, when heathens are 
warned in dreams, no Angel appears to them (ii. 12, xxviL 19). 
Very possibly the information about all six dreams, the five in 
these two chapters and that of Pilate's wife, comes from the same 

In marked contrast to the similar promises to Abraham and 
to Zacharias (Gen. xvii. 19, 21 ; Lk. L 13), the Angel here (21) 
does not say * shall bear t^e a son ' : there is no a-oi after riirrax^ 
although 'to thee' in ver. 21 and 'to him ' in ver. 25 are found 
in Sjoiac Versions (Burkitt, Evanf^eiion da-Mepharreshe^ iL pp. 
199, 200). Both Syr-Sin. and Syr-Cur. have * to thee' in ver. 21, 
and Syr-Sin. has 'to him' in ver. 25. But even if the o-oc were 
in the Greek Text, in which it probably never had a place 
(p. 262), it would not be of doctrinal importance, for the meaning 
of the Evangelist is clear. "The points which Mt wishes to 
impress on his readers are the physical reality of the birth of 
Christ from a virgin and the legality of the descent from David. 
The physical reality of the descent from David was a matter of 
no moment so long as the legal conditions were satisfied." The 
<roi, if Mt had written it, would simply have meant, She 
shall bear thee a " legitimate Heir of the Divine promises made 
to David " (p. 260). That is the meaning of cycvnTo-cy in the 
genealogy: e,g, 'Joram begat Uzziah' means that Uzziah was 
the legitimate heir of Joram, not that he was actually Joram's 
son. The insertion of the names of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, 
and the wife of Uriah indicates that the heir had sometimes 
been bom irregularly, "as if to prepare us for greater irregu- 
larity at the last stage," and perhaps also to prepare us for the 
welcome which the Messiah will give to aliens and sinners : see 

It would be rash to say that, without the Virgin-birth, the 
Incarnation and Redemption would have been impossible. It 
is enough for us that, with it, both are more intelligible. In so 
mysterious a subject, dogmatism is out of place, and speculation 
is more likely to become irreverent than profitable. But the 
question has been much discussed, and this much may be 
suggested. If Christ had had no human parent. He would not 
have taken our flesh, and would not have been of the same race 
as those whom He came to save. It is not easy to see how a 


newly created being could have helped the human race by death 
and resurrection. If Christ had had two human parents, it is 
not easy to see how the hereditary contamination of the race 
could have been excluded. It might be urged that this difficulty 
remains even with only one human parent ; we must either admit 
the hereditary taint, or allow no connexion with the human race. 
But there is no such alternative. There are three possibilities : 
human parentage, a fresh creation, and the substitution of Divine 
operation for the human father. In the last case, the Divine 
element would exclude all possibility of taint from the human 
mother, for it is inconceivable that the Divine element should 
receive pollution. But it is safer to accept with reverent thank- 
fulness what has been told us in the Gospels than to raise need- 
less, and perhaps fruitless, questions about what has not been 

The Messiah was bom in the flesh, not ^the flesh. He was 
bom in the flesh ; and therefore was able to vanquish sin and 
death in the r^on in which they had won their victories. He 
was not bom of the flesh, but of the Spirit ; and therefore He 
did not share in the innate proneness towards evil which all other 
human beings exhibit It was possible for Him to pass the 
whole of His life without sin. In human society, it is man who 
represents individual initiative, while woman represents the con- 
tinuity of the species. The Messiah was not the child of this or 
that father, but of the race. He was not a son of any individual, 
but He was ' the Son of Man.' 

It was possible for Him to be sinless, and He was sinless. 
Yet it cannot be argued that the Virgin-birth was imagined in 
order to account for His sinlessness, for nowhere in the N.T. is 
the one given as the explanation of the other. But all the 
evidence that we have goes to show that no one ever convicted 
Him of sin. Some charged Him with it, but they never brought 
it home to His conscience so that He Himself was aware of it 
He called upon others to repent; He said that they were by 
nature (v^ap^ov^cs) evil (Lk. xi. 13), that they must be bom 
anew, that He came to save sinners and had authority to forgive 
sins, that He would give His own life as a ransom for sinners, 
and, beyond all this, He said that He would hereafter appear as 
the Judge of all. It is not credible that one who could thus 
speak of Himself and of others, should Himself have been 
conscious of sin. That would involve a psychological contradic- 
tion. All experience teaches that, the holier men become, the 

1 S«e Hastings' DCCy artt 'Annunciation,* 'Birth of Christ,' 'Virgin 
Birth/ and the literature there quoted. 

On the different readings of i. 18 see Nestle, Textual CrUicism of tk$ 
Ck, Test. p. 249 ; Scrivener (Miller), ii. pp. 321, 322. 


more convinced they are of their own sinfulness.^ This would 
have been the case with Jesus, if He had been only the holiest 
man that ever lived : and, had He been constantly advancing in 
consciousness of His own frailty and faultiness, some evidence 
of this would have found its way into the Gospels. The Gospels 
are not in every matter of detail historically exact ; but what they 
give us, with overwhelming truthfulness of testimony, is the moral 
impression which Jesus of Nazareth produced upon those who 
knew Him or were influenced by those who knew Him; and 
that was, that He was one ' who did no sin, neither was guile 
found in His mouth' (i Pet ii. 22 ; 2 Cor. v. 21). 

The quotation of Is. vii. 14 (23) is given according to the 
Septuagint, with the necessary change from ' thou shalt call ' to 
' they shall call.' The original text, so familiar from its Christmas 
associations, " is in some ways one of the most difficult verses 
in the whole Bible" (W. E. Barnes, ad loc). The Hebrew for 
' virgin ' is altnak, one who is not yet a wife, not bethulah^ one 
from whom all idea of marriage is excluded. The promised 
sign is in the name to be given to the child, not in the strange- 
ness of its birth. The prophecy, as ver. 16 shows, is connected 
with the Prophet's own time, and it promises deliverance within 
a short period. But " there are signs that the view that Isaiah 
was using current mythological terms, and intended the sense 
of supernatural birth, is rightly gaining ground. In any case the 
LXX translators already interpreted the passage in this sense; 
and the fact that the later Greek translators substituted vcavi? for 
irop^cvos, and that there are no traces of the supernatural birth 
in the later Jewish literature, is due to anti-Christian polemic " 
(Allen, ad lo€»). Justin Martyr (Try. 43 and 67) calls attention 
to this change from irapdevo^ to vcavis. Nevertheless, it may be 
true that anti-Christian polemic, by suggesting that Mary was an 
unfaithful spouse, really points to the Virgin-birth. See Herford, 
Christianity in Talmud and Midrash^ pp. 35 ff. See also Briggs, 
" Criticism and Dogma of the Virgin-birth," in N, Amer, Rev,^ 
June 1906. 

In OT^. 22, 23 we have the Evangelist's own reflexion on the 
Angelic message to Joseph : it was the fulfilment, in its contents, 
of a remarkable Messianic prophecy. But Mt. seems to give this 
reflexion as if it was part of what the Angel said in the dream. 
Irenaeus (iv. xxiii. i) expressly takes it so, and Zahn {ad loc. 
p. 77) contends that he is right. In xxvi. 56 there is similar 
doubt whether a similar reflexion is given as part of Christ's 

^ This has been pointed out, in connexion with the sinlessness of Jesus, 
not only by Godet {Introduction au N.T. p. 277), but by Strauss {Leben 
JesUf p. 195). See also DCC, art. 'Immanud'; Moulton, Modem 
Readef^s BibU, p. 1568. 


utterance or as the Evangelist's own. Possibly in both cases 
Ml was so convinced of the correctness of the view as to the 
fulfilment of prophecy that he did not hesitate to give it the 
highest sanction.^ In the one case the Angel, in the other the 
Messiah, must have known of the fulfilment of prophecy. In 
much the same way Mt. gives his own interpretation of Jonah 
as a sign to the Ninevites as if it were part of what our Lord 
said to the Pharisees (xii. 40). Here the AV. places w* 22, 
23 in brackets, as a parenthetical remark, which is their 
true character; but the RV. omits the brackets, because the 
Evangelist does not seem to make any parenthesis. He 
remains in the background, while the Angel makes the re- 

In ' he knew her not ' (ovic lytWrxcv avn/K), the imperfect tense 
is important It is against the tradition of the perpetual virginity 
of Mary. This has been questioned ; but it hardly needs argu- 
ment that, in such a context, ' he used not to ' or ' he was not in 
the habit of means more Uian *he did not' It is quite true 
that the aorist, ' he knew her not until,' would have implied that 
she subsequently had children by him. But the imperfect implies 
this still more strongly. " The meaning of ver. 25 seems clear 
if only we could approach the subject without prepossessions" 
(Wright, Synopsis, p. 259). As Zahn points out, Mt. wrote in 
Palestine for Jews and Jewish Christians, and he would know 
whether * the brethren ' of the Lord were the sons of Mary or 
not Seeing how anxious he is to glorify the Messiah, and how 
jealously he avoids whatever might seem to detract from His 
glory, it cannot have been a matter of indifference to him whether 
the Messiah was Mary's only child or not If he knew that she 
had no other child, he would have made this clear with eager 
reverence. Instead of making it clear that the Messiah was the 
only being who could call her His Mother, he uses an expression 
which inevitably suggests and naturally implies that she had 
children by Joseph. It is as if he knew that ' the brethren ' 
were her diildren, and yet could not bring himself in so many 
words to say so. That he would have welcomed the theory that 
they were Joseph's children by a former wife is by no means 
certain, for in that case it could hardly be maintained that Jesus 
was the heir of David through Joseph. But Mt would perhaps 
have r^arded the wonderful circumstances of His Birth and the 
fulfilment of prophecies as sufficient evidence that He was 
appointed by God to be the Heir. Mt, however, gives no 

^ In both cases, as also in xxL 4, where it is certainly Mt. who makes 
the reflexion, the perfect in ro^o di [S\ow] yiyovw may mean that the 
narrator is near to the event (Lightfoot, On a Fresh Revision, p. lOo) ; or 
It may mean that the result remains as an abiding fiict. 


indication that he knew of any former wife. The one fact 
about which he leaves us in no doubt is that Mary was a virgin 
when she gave birth to the Messiah. Hence this Gospel begins 
with an emphatic contradiction of a well-known Jewish calumny, 
and ends with an equally emphatic contradiction of another. 
The Jews said that Jesus of Nazareth was the son of some man 
who had seduced Mary. They also said that His disciples had 
stolen His Body from the tomb in order to pretend that He had 
risen from the dead. Thus this ' Gospel of the kingdom,' written 
by a Jewish Christian for Jews and Jewish Christians, begins by 
repelling a Jewish attack on the Virgin-birth, and ends by re- 
pelling a Jewish attack on the Resurrection. See J. B. Mayor, 
Ep, of S, James^ pp. v-xxxvi; Smith's DB,y 2nd ed., artt 
* Brother,' * James,' * Judas, the Lord's Brother' ; Hastings' DB. 
and DCG.t artt. 'Brethren of the Lord,' 'Mary the Virgin'; 
J. B. Mayor, Expositor^ July and August 1908. 

In dealing with his fellow-countrymen, whom he wished to 
bring over to allegiance to the Messiah, the writer of the First 
Gospel points out that in three conspicuous instances those who 
were nearest to the Messiah, after having at first found an 
occasion of falling in Him, became convinced that in Him and 
in His word the Divine Wisdom was justified (xi. 19). At His 
Birth, in the middle of His Ministry, and at His Death, precisely 
those who had the best means of judging about the matter were 
first of all offended, and then were divinely helped to a better 
appreciation of His character as the promised Messiah and 
Saviour. At the outset, even before He was bom, Joseph, the 
son of David, doubted whether she who was the Mother of the 
Messiah was not a faithless spouse (i. 19). When the Messiah's 
work had so increased that He appointed twelve of His best 
disciples to assist Him in it, John, the greatest of the Prophets, 
sent to Him to ask whether one who was so slow to assert 
Himself was to be regarded as the promised Messiah (xi. 2, 3). 
When the Messiah's work was closed, and to human eyes seemed 
to be a failure, and He was already under sentence of death, the 
first of the Apostles, one of the chosen Three, publicly declared 
and swore that he did not know the Man (xx\d. 70-75). It was 
not to be wondered at, if other Jews, who had never seen Jesus 
of Nazareth, should have misgivings about Him ; but, with these 
three examples before them, they might take courage and accept 
Him as their Messiah. 

The date of Christ's birth cannot be determined with certainty. 
Sir William Ramsay has argued in favour of b.c. 6. Colonel 
Mackinlay has shown that b.c. 8 is more probable (The Magi^ 
haw they recognised Chris fs Star^ pp. 135 flf.); and this Ramsay 
admits. He says : " Though the evidence is still inconclusive, 


it seems more probable that his date 8 B.C is right It is clearly 
demonstrated that there was a system of periodic enrolment in 
the Province of Syria according to a fourteen-yea[rs cycle, and the 
first enrolment was made in the year 8-7 B.a {Christ Bom in 
Bethkhem^ p. 170). Such was the rule, but in carrying out of 
such an extensive and novel operation in the Roman world 
delays sometimes occurred ; and an example of such delay for 
about two years (as revealed by a recent discovery) is quoted in 
my article 'Corroboration' in the Expositor^ Nov. 1901, pp. 
321 f. Accordingly I concluded that the enrolment in Herod's 
kingdom was probably delayed until autumn 6 B.a While such 
delay is possible, it has against it the distinct testimony of 
Tertullian that the enrolment in Syria at which Christ was bom 
was made by Satuminus, who governed the Province 9-7 ac. 
The evidence which determined me to favour the date 6 B.C. is 
distinctly slighter in character than that which supports the date 
8 8.0." (Preface to Mackinlay's The Magi^ how they recognised 
Chrisfs Star^ pp. ix, x). As to the time of year, Mackinlay 
gives reasons for preferring the Feast of Tabernacles, and 
probably the first day of it, to any other season (p. 1 76). If this 
is correct, then, although 25th December must be quite wrong 
for the day of the Nativity, yet 28th December may be fairly exact 
for the murders at Bethlehem, which took place about three 
months after the Nativity (p. 199). 

When we consider how very little of ch. L affords any scope 
for the writer to give any evidence of characteristics or peculi- 
arities of style, the niunber of expressions which are found 
broadcast over the rest of the Gospel is large. Even in the first 
seventeen verses, which are occupied with the pedigree of the 
Messiah, there are two or three characteristic expressions: 
vto$ AavciS (i), Xcyo/x€FO( (16), and tov Xpurrov (17), which 
anticipates xL 2. In the narrative portion we have tSov (20), 
^oivcaAu (20), vi^f AavciS (20), Iva irkr^pmOy (22). The following 
are peculiar to Mt : icar Svap (20), j^iv (22); peculiar to this 
chapter: ficrouccor^ (11, 12, 17). 

n. 1-ld. The Visit of the Magi to the Newborn Messiah, 

There can be no doubt that the Evangelist regards this 
narradve, like that of the Virgin-birth, as historical. He has it 
on what he believes to be good authority, and he would have his 
readers accept it as completely as he does himself. And there is 
no sufficient reason why they should refuse to do so; for the 
story is not in any way incredible in itself, and it is difficult to 
find any satisfactory explanation of its origin, excepting that in 


the main it is tnie.^ The attempts to explain it by legendany 
analogies are very unsuccessful. The examples cited are more 
remarkable for their differences than for their resemblances; 
and, even if the resemblances were great, it would be a monstrous 
principle to lay down, that what resembles fiction must itself be 
fiction. The only element in the story which resembles legend 
is the statement that the star 'went before them, till it came 
and stood over where the young child was,' a statement of 
"great poetical beauty,*' which may be intended to mean no 
more than that what they had seen in the heavens led to their 
finding the newborn Messiah. But the mode of statement may 
be due, not to a poetic vein in the Evangelist, who does not 
elsewhere seem to have any such vein, but to his informants, or 
to the Magi themselves. The expression may be Oriental 
rhetoric, or it may state what appeared to them to be the case. 
Even if we pronounce this detail to be deliberate embellishment, 
that does not show that the whole story is a fiction.* 

There is abundant evidence of a wide-spread desire and 
expectation of a coming Deliverer or universal King some time 
before the Birth of Christ Eastern astrologers would search the 
heavens for signs of this great event Whether it was planetary 
conjunctions which are known to have taken place in B.C. 7-4, 
or transitory phenomena which cannot now be calculated, that 
attracted the attention of the Magi, cannot be determined. The 
character of the phenomena, or a knowledge of Jewish anticipa- 
tions, may have directed them to Palestine. The remainder of 
the narrative needs no explanation ; but, if we like to omit the 
Magi's dream, and substitute for it a feeling of distrust for Herod, 
we shall have an account which reads like sober history, wholly 
in harmony with the known circumstances of the time and with 
the cruel character of Herod The Old Testament is not the 
source of the star or of the gifts ; for the Evangelist, in spite of 
his great fondness for fulfilments of prophecy, does not quote 

^ The objection Minfe to it by Celsus, that Magi have been confiised with 
Chaldeans, is very weak (Orig. Can, Cels, i. 58), and does not seem to have 
been tdcen up by Jewish opponents of Christianity. 

' It is not often that we find anything of real poetical beauty in the 
apocryphal additions to the Gospels ; but, as to the star, we are told that it 
fell into the well at Bethlehem, and there sometimes it is still seen by those 
who are pure in heart (Doaehoo, Apocryphal and Legendary Life of Christy 

PP- 73» 74). 

Bethlehem is specified as ' of Judaea,' not to distinguish it from Bethle- 
hem of Galilee (Josh. xix. 15), but, either in accordance wiih O.T. usage, 
or (more probably) to indicate that the King of the Jews was bom in the 
territory of the tribe of Judah. Jerome says that ' in the actual Hebrew ' 
(in ipso ffebraico), by which he probably means the Gospel according to the 
Hebrews, the reuling was ' of Judah/ not ' of Judaea,' which he regards as a 
mbtake of the cop3rists. 


either Num. zxiv. 17 for the one, or Ps. Ixxii. 10, 15, Cant. iiL 6, 
Is. Ix. 6 for the other. The gifts mentioned are intrinsically 
probable, independently of any prophecy or previous narrative. 
We may believe that the Evangelist knew that the Star in 
Balaam's prophecy indicated the Messiah Himself, as even the 
Taigums interpreted it. It was Christians who, under the influ- 
ence of this narrative, misinterpreted Balaam's Star as meaning 
the star which guided the Magi; and it was Christians who, 
under the influence of Ps. Ixxii., turned the Magi into kings. 

The expression ' King of the Jews ' (2) shows that the Magi 
were heathen. ^ In the east ' (iv rj iyaroXff) should probably be 
'at its rising ' : the appearance in the heavens, not in a particular 
quarter of the heavens, suggested the birth of a king.^ The 
Evangelist purposely speaks of Herod as ' Herod the king ' to 
explain why he was troubled : his throne was in danger. * All 
Jerusalem ' {irSca ^Icpwrokviui : the feminine singular is imusual) 
is common hyperbole: it was to their interest not to have a 
disputed dynasty. The expression ' chief priests and scribes 0/ 
the people^ indicates representatives of the Sanhedrin. Comp. 
xxL 23 and xxvi. 3, where we have * elders of the peopleJ In 
xvi 21 all three of the component elements are mentioned. 

Here begins, by implication^ the Evangelist's attitude of 
condemnation towards the official instructors of the Jewish 
nation. A message is brought, under highly exceptional and 
remarkable conditions, that the King of the Jews has been bom ; 
and these national leaders take no kind of pains to find out 
whether or no it is true ; they hope that it is not, for they do not 
want to have to decide between rival claims. The only person 
who takes any trouble in the matter is Herod, and his aim 
respecting the newborn King of the Jews is to compass His 
destruction. Pagans, who had nothing to guide them but 
smatterings of science mingled with much superstition, neverthe- 
less are so kindled with enthusiasm by the signs which God, by 
means of these imperfect instruments, had granted to them, that 
they take a long journey and make careful investigations, in 

1 ' We saw ' (RV.) is better than < We have seen' (AV.) ; J. H. Moulton, 
Grammttr €f N,T, Greeks i. p. 138. 

In the Testaments of the XII. Patriarchs there are many points of 
contact with the N.T., especially with Mt In the Messianic hymn near the 
end of the Test, of Levi we have this prediction : " Then shall the Lord 
raise up a new priest ; To him all the words of the Lord shall be revealed ; 
And he shidl do judgment of truth on the earth. And his star shall arise in 
heaven as of a lan^» lighting up the light of knowledge as the sun in the 
daytime " {Ijsui xvui. 2, 3). See below on iii. 17, 

For the " vernacular eenitive " in etdoficp y6,p airov rhw iarfpa see Abbott, 
Johannine Grammar ^ 2782 ; the effect is to emphasize ' seen ' and ' star/ esp. 
the latter. For ^e use ofwpovKvww in the N.T. wte Johannine Vocabulary^ 



order to pay due reverence to the new Ruler who has been sent 
into the world. But the Jewish hierarchy, with the Pentateuch 
and Prophets in their hands, are so far from being elated at this 
report of the fulfilment of types and prophecies, that they do not 
care so much as to verify it. They are content to be ruled by 
the Herods rather than be roused out of their accustomed modes 
of life. 

The caose of the varying txanslations of the term iif%uot6t in Latin texts 
is a problem which has yet to be solved : we have frtnceps sacerdotum^ 
summus sacerdos^ pontifexy princeps^ sacerdos^ the last bemg rare for apx^epe^, 
but the regular translation everywhere of Upe^. In Mt. prittceps sacerdaium 
prevails, and in Lk. also, in Mk. summus sacerdos ; in Jn. porUiftx^ with 
princeps sacerdotum frec^uent in Old Latin texts. MuUa pati a sacerdoiibus 
(Ml xvi. 2i) is found m Irenaeus (ill. xviii. 4); and JmUu saeerdotibus ei 
senioribus dixit (Mt. xxvii. 3) is found in Cyprian (7W/. ii. 14). See 
Burkitt, Viwr. of Th. St, for Jan. 1908, pp. 290 ff. 

Field gives an interesting parallel to iL 4 from Dionydus Hal. Ant. Rom, 
iv. 59 : ovyKoXiffca 8i (Tarquinius) rabt irixtaplovs |idrretf, irwBin^ero rap' 
abrOw, tI ^otfkenu ffrifuUpew rb Wpof / {Otium Norvic, iii. p. i). In both 
cases the imperfect is effective : ' he kept on asking,' ' he repeatedly asked.' 

On the hypothesis that the Magi connected the appearance of a new star 
(like that which appeared in Perseus in Feb. 1 901) with ihit fravashi or 
representative spirit of a new king, see J. H. Moulton in ihtjour. of 7%, St,, 
July 1902, p. 524. They may have heard of Jewish hopes of a Messiah. 

The quotation from Mic. v. 2 which is put into th^ mouths 
of the hierarchy varies greatly from the Septuagint and looks like 
a free translation from the Hebrew. It is remarkable that Mt 
does not quote any prophecy as pointing to the visit of the MagL 
We might have expected to have Is. xlix. 12 or Ix. 3 cited as an 
anticipation of this reverence paid by those who 'came from far,' 
and of this early instance of 'nations coming to the light' of the 
Messiah.^ But at any rate we have in this visit of the Magi, 
to do homage to one whom the rulers of the Jews despise and 
persecute, an early instance of that truth which is again and 
again alluded to through this Gospel, that the Jews, who trusted 
in their descent from Abraham and rejected the revelation which 
God made through His Son, are expelled from their inheritance, 
while the Gentiles, who welcome that revelation, are admitted 
into the Kingdom (iii. 9, viii. 11, 12, xii. 18-21, xv. 28, xxL 43, 
xxii. 5- 10, xxiv. 14, xxviii. 19). 

The fact that the Magi found Mary and the Child in * the 
house' tells us nothing as to the place of birth. Mt. may have 
believed that the Messiah was bom in a house rather than in a 

^ The fact that Mt. does not cite either these prophecies, or Num. xxiv. 
17, or Deut. xviii. 15, is strong evidence that he has not himself invented 
the story as a fulfilment of O.T. predictions. Comp. also 2 Sam. v 2. On 
what is here Quoted from Micah, Swete remarks '*The Evangelist has pat 
into the mouth of the Scribes an interpretation rather than a version of the 
prophecy" {Int. to the O.T, in Greek, p. 396). 


Stable or a cave, but all that he cares to emphasize is that He 
was born at Bethlehem, not at Nazareth. Again, he may have 
believed that the star moved at first and then stood still over 
Bethlehem ; but all that is required for his narrative is that the 
Magi, as they journeyed from their home to Jerusalem and 
Bethlehem, had the star in front of them. The gifts which they 
brii^ tell us nothing respecting the home of the Magi.^ They 
were offerings such as were often made to princes, and they 
could be obtained everywhere. The mystical interpretation of 
them, as pointing to royalty, divinity, and mortality, is as old 
as Origen. Gold and frankincense occur together in Is. Ix. 6. 
The three gifts led to the legend of three kings, each offering 

There is not one word in the narrative to indicate that the 
Magi did wrong in drawing inferences from what they saw in 
the heavens, or that their knowledge of the birth of the Messiah 
was obtained from evil spirits or by the practice of any black 
art Yet Christian writers, while insisting that magic was over- 
thrown by the Advent of Christ, often connect this overthrow 
with the visit of the Magi, whose adoration of the Holy Child 
is taken as an admission of their defeat (Ign. £pA, 19; Just. 
M. TrypAo, 78; Orig. Con. Cels. i. 60; Tert. De Idol 9, etc). 
Augustine's epigram is attractive, but it is not in harmony with 
the facts : Quid erit tribunal judicantis^ cum superbos reges cuna 
terrebant ifrfantist The Magi were not proud kings, and it was 
not terror which moved them to come. 

Attention may here be called to two words which are of very frequent 
occurrence in Mt., one of which occurs in this section for the first time. 
'Then' {r&rt) is a favourite wa^ of beginning a narrative: ii. 7, 16, 17, 
5i- 5. »3» I5» i^- i> 5» 10. "» ^"- 26, ix. 6, 14, 29, 37, xi. 20, rii. 13, 22, 
3^1 44j 45f etc etc. Somewhat similar in use is ' Lo ' or ' Behold ' {liaO) : 
L 20, ii. I, 13, 19, ix. 18, 32, X. 16, xi. 8, etc ; and koX ldo6f ii. 9, iii. 16, 
17, iv. II, vii. 4, viii. 2, 24, 29, 32, 34, ix. 2, 3, 10, etc. Comp. also cifMpa, 
which occurs once each in Mk., Lk., Acts, and Rev., but in ML seven times : 
ii. 10, xvii. 6, 23, xviii. 31, xix. 25, xxvi. 22, xxvii 54 ; and note the re- 
currence of Tpo<rKW€af, a very favourite word with Mt., but rare in Mk. and 
Lk. : ii. 2, 8, If, iv. 9, viii. 2, ix. 18, xiv. 33, xv. 25, xviii.«26, xx. 20, 
xxviii. 9, 17. We might add vopei^ff 0ai to these, as a word which is very 
freauent in Mt. and occurs first in this paragraph : ii. 8, 9, 20, viii. 9, ix. 13, 
X. D, 7, xi. 4, 7, xii. I, 45, xvii. 27, xviii. 12, xix. 15, etc. ; but it is very 
frequent in Lk. also, and in Acts. See small print at the end of this 

jBoth l8o^ and xal IM are frequently used to introduce some wonderfiil 
thing, as in these two chapters ; but this is not always the case, as the above 
references show. Nevertheless, Bengel's particu/a signc exhibendo apiissima 
holds good. 

^ Aralna is an early guess (Justin, Tertullian), but it is not a good one ; 
fiar Arabia is south rather than east of Judaea. The Queen of Sheba is ' Queen 
of the South' (xii. 42). 


n. 18-d8. The Flight into Egypt, the Massacre of the 
Innocents^ and the Return to Palestine. 

Here again we may, if we like, regard the dreams as the 
Evangelist's own interpretation of what took place. He knew 
that ill that was done came to pass under Divine guidance ; and 
this guidance could be most easily understood as operating 
through dreams. The Divine ordering of the events is all that 
is essential; the manner in which God's will took effect is of 
small moment The Magi would tell Joseph and Mary of the 
excitement which had been produced in Jerusalem by their 
visit, and Joseph would naturally think it prudent to withdraw 
the Child from Palestine. They could not tell of Herod's evil 
designs, for they did not know them ; but Joseph would know 
enough of Herod's character to surmise that his great interest 
in the birth of a King of the Jews boded no good. He had 
recently (b.c 7) put his own sons by Mariamne, Alexander and 
Aristobulus, to death, believing that they were a danger to his 
throne ; which made Augustus (under whose eye they had been 
educated at Rome) remark, that it was better to be Herod's pig 
than his son. If Joseph decided that they must leave the 
dominions of such a ruler, Egypt was an obvious place of refuge. 
It was close at hand, and &ere were many Jews there. The 
return to Palestine would be equally natural after Herod was 

This paragraph (13-18) is in emphatic contrast to the pre- 
ceding one, and the contrast is at once marked by the Angel's 
warning in the opening verse: 'For Herod is about to seek 
the young Child to destroy Him' is in simple but emphatic 
antithesis to the Magi, who sought Him out ' to worship Him.' 
Other instances of dramatic juxtaposition of incidents will be 
found in this Gospel, especially in the concluding chapters. 
There may be some reference to this in Rev. xii. 1-6. 

Just as in the preceding case the Evangelist's chief point is 
that the Messiah was bom at Bethlehem and was found there 
by the Magi, while he tells nothing about their home or the 
details of their journey, so here his main point is that the Messiah 
took refuge in Egypt About the route by which He was taken 
or brought back, or the length of time that He remained in 
Egypt, nothing is said. He had two reasons for insisting upon 
the flight into Egypt, one of which is conspicuous in his 
narrative, the other not He wished to show iliat here again 
we have a fulfilment of prophecy, and also to show that the 
King of the Jews, like the Jewish nation itself, left Palestine 
and took refuge in Egypt, and then returned to Palestine again. 
It is possible also that Mt had the story of the flight of Moses 


from Egypt, and his return to it, in his mind; comp. Ex. 
iv. 19. 

With regard to the prophecy in ver. 1 5, Mt. does not, any 
more than in ver. 6, quote the Septuagint, which would not have 
suited his purpose in either case: he gives an independent 
translation of the Hebrew, which he may or may not have made 
for himself.^ In Hos. xi. i the Septuagint gives, ' Out of Egypt 
I called his children' (i$ AiyvnTov /tcrcicaXco'a ra rcicva avroO). 
In any case, however, the verse is not a prophecy, but the 
statement of an historical fact, — ^the call of Israel out of Egypt 
into the land of Canaan, to make known there the true religion. 
But the history of the nation is often regarded as a typical 
anticipation of the life of the Messiah. 

We know neither how old the Child was when He was taken 
into Egypt nor how long He remained there. Herod died b.c. 4, 
five days after he had put his son Antipater to death, and a little 
before the Passover. The flight into Egypt probably took place 
two or three years before that; the stay in Egypt must have 
lasted some years. 

There was a Jewish tradition respecting the stay in Egypt, 
which, although false, is of great value. Origen gives it as 
having been brought forward by Celsus, who asserted that Jesus, 
"having been brought up as an illegitimate child, and having 
served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge 
of certain miraculous powers, returned thence to His own 
country, and by means of those powers proclaimed Himself a 
God" (^Con. dels. i. 38).* Another form of the tradition is 
that Jesus wrought miracles by means of charms, which He 
brought, concealed in His flesh, from Egypt. This tradition 
confirms two things, that Jesus went into Egypt, and that He 
afterwards wrought mighty works. The Jews regarded Egypt 
as the home of magical arts. The Talmud says: "Ten 
measures of sorcery descended into the world ; Egypt received 
nine, the rest of the world one " (Herford, Christianity in Talmud 
and Midrash^ p. 55). It is possible that this Jewish tradition 
that Jesus learnt magic in Egypt, or brought charms out of 

^ Only in a few cases are the quotations in Mt. taken from the LXX. 
" The greater number are based on the Hebrew, some of these exhibiting 
curious inaccuracies arising; out of a misconception of the Hebrew text. '' And 
perhaps Mt. used a collection of Messianic texts rather than a MS. of the O.T. 
(Bnrkitt, The Gosj^l Histtny and Us Transmission, pp. 125, 126). See also 
Allen, pp. Ixi, boi. 

> Comp. Con. Cels. iii. i, where Origen states that the Jews of his own 
day, "approving what the Jews of former times dared to do against Jesus, 
speak evil of Him, asserting that it was by a kind of sorcery (did rivot yvirrtlai) 
that He passed Himself oflf for Him who was predicted by the Prophets as 
He that ahonld come." 

i8 GOSPEL ACCORbli^G to S. MAttHEW [tL l3-» 

Egypt, is quite independent of the narrative of Mt, and goes 
back to the first century. When Celsus criticizes Mt's story, 
he does so in a very different manner, and does not mention 
this tradition {Con, Cels. i. 66). The simplicity of the narrative 
in Mt is a considerable mark of truth. It should be contrasted 
with the elaborate details in the Apocryphal Gospels ; see Pseudo- 
Matthew xvii.-xxv. ; Arabic Gospel of the Infancy ix.-xxvi; 
Gospel of Thomas, Latin form, i.-iiL The second of these 
makes the stay in Egypt last three years ; but it is unlikely that 
this rests on independent tradition. The time is made long in 
order to have room for many miracles. 

The change of formula in introducing the prophecy in ver. 17 
is probably intentional. Instead of ' in order that it might be 
fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet' 
(i. 22, ii. 15), we have, *Then was fulfilled that which was 
spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.' ^ The change is three- 
fold. Nothing is said about Divine purpose ; nor about Divine 
utterance ; and the name of the Prophet is given. Perhaps Mt 
was unwilling to attribute the massacre at Bethlehem to God as 
designed by Him in order that His own word might be fulfilled. 
Possibly Jeremiah is named because he was the Prophet of doom 
and death, and in his mouth this tragic prediction was natural. 
Similar motives may have influenced the formula in xxvii. 9. 

The difficulty about the prophecy quoted in ver. 23 is one 
which our present knowledge does not enable us to solve. It is 
not certain that there is any original connexion between Nofco^ib? 
and No^apo, and nothing in the O.T. seems to connect Na^^copeuos 
with the Messiah. Na^opouos occurs xxvi. 71 ; Lk. xviiL 37 ; Jn. 
xviii. 5, 7, xix. 19, and often in Acts. The form No^opiTvd^ is 
found in Lk. and uniformly in Mk., but nowhere in Mt., Jn., 
or Acts. The adjectives sometimes have a tinge of contempt, 
whereas 6 <l?ro No^opcr (xxi. 1 1 ; Mk. i. 9 ; Jn. i. 46 ; Acts x. 38) 
is a mere statement of fact No connexion with ' Nazirite ' can 
be intended ; our Lord was not a Nazirite. It is possible that 
the Evangelist is playing upon Aramaic or Hebrew words which 
resemble 'Nazarene' and mean 'Branch'; and this solution is 
approved in Hastings' DCG., art. 'Nazarene,' but it is not 
satisfactory. ' Zahn points out that there is no * saying ' {Xeyovrwv) 
after 'Prophets,' a word which Mt commonly inserts when he 
quotes a prophetical utterance (i. 22, iL 15, 17, iii. 3, iv. 14, 
viii. 17, xii. 17, xiii. 35, xxi. 4, xxvii. 9; comp. xiii. 14, xv. 7, 
xxiL 31). The inference is that ' He shall be called a Nazarene' 

^ Possibly ' fulfilled ' implies more than is meant ; ' then was exemplified,' 
' then there was an instance of,' is perhaps all that is intended. ' Because 
they are not'isvaeue; 'because they are no more' is the English phrase. 
' Lamentation and^{$p^P09 Koi) is omitted in K B Z 22, Latt. Sah. Boh. Ann. 


is not meant to be a quotation, but is the Evangelist's justifica- 
tion of what precedes, on meaning not *that,' but 'because' or 
'for': 'for He shall be called a Nazarene.' This harmonizes 
with Jerome's suggestion that the reference is to passages in the 
Prophets which predict that the Messiah shall be despised. 

Mt can hardly have known that Nazareth was the home of 
Joseph and Mary before the Birth at Bethlehem, for he treats 
the settlement of the Holy Family at Nazareth as remarkable 
and providential, — not at all as a matter of course. The return 
from Egypt is as divinely ordered as the flight into Egypt ; but, 
at first, all that is commanded is a return to Palestine^ which, in 
true Jewish phraseology, is called 'the land of Israel.' Then, 
when Joseph is afraid to enter Judaea, a second command directs 
him to Galilee, That Joseph should fear to enter the territory 
of Archelaus was as natural as it was providential. Archelaus 
was the worst of Herod's sons, and Josephus {B,J. ii. vi. 2) tells 
us that, in order to show that he was a true son of that tyrant, 
he inaugurated his reign with a massacre of 3000 people. So 
Joseph is directed to Galilee, and there he himself selected 
Nazareth; 'that what was spoken by the Prophets might be 

As to the general credibility of this second chapter, and the 
way in which it reflects the condition of Palestine at the time, 
see W. C Allen, ad he, pp. 14, 21, 22; G. H. Box, in the 
Interpreter^ Jan. 1906, and Hastings' DCG,y artt. * Egypt,' 
' Magi,' * Innocents,' * Rachel' To what is said there may be 
added the fact that, respecting this period of the Messiah's 
childhood, the Third Gospel gives us what we might have ex- 
pected to find in the First, while the First gives us what we might 
have expected to find in the Third. Antecedently, we should 
have looked for the account of the obedience to the Law paid 
by Mother and Child, and the visit of the Holy Family to the 
Temple, in the Jewish Gospel ; while the visit of the Gentile 
Magi to the Saviour of the world would have fitted admirably 
mto the tmiversal Gospel of the Gentile Evangelist. But in this 
matter each writer gets beyond his own special sympathies and 
point of view ; and this is a valuable confirmation of the trust- 
worthiness of what he « has written. Neither of them can be 
justly suspected of having imagined and given as history just 
what suited his own peculiar standpoint.^ 

In this second chapter we seem to have a group of three 
events which are closely connected with one another : the visit 
of the Magi (1-12), the flight into Egypt (13-18), and the return 

' That the flight into Egypt was providentially designed to form a decided 
break between the wonders at Bethlehem and the ordinary life at Nazareth is 
maintained by W. G. ElmsUe, Expositor^ ist series, vi. 403. 


to Palestine (19-23). In what follows we have another group of 
threie connected events : the preaching of John (iii. i-i 2), the 
Baptism of the Messiah (13-17), and the Temptation (iv. i-ii). 

This chapter conlaiDS a considerable number of the expressions which are 
either peculiar to Mt. or are characteristic of his style : see above on ver. 12. 
Several of them are found in ch. i. also, and they go a long way towards 
proving that these first two chapters have the same author as the rest of 
the Gospel. The tables drawn up by Sir J. Hawkins {Sora Synopticet^ 
pp. 3-9) bring this result out very clearly. *' If the Nativity Story be not an 
mtegral part of the First Gospel, it must be counted one of the cleverest of 
literary adaptations, a verdict not likely to be passed on it by a sane criti- 
cism" (Burkitt, Evangelion da-Mepharreshet ii. p. 259). 

Characteristic : /dot) (i, 19), vpocxweip (2, 8, ll), irwdyeiF (4), liytfuiw (6), 
rSre (7, ii), ^MhtcBax (7, 19), Tope^ff$tu (8, 9) koI l5o6 (9), c^dSpa (lo), 
rpoff^petw (11), 0if(ravp6t (ll), dpaxtapeiy (12, 13, 14, 23), 6pia {i6),\ey6fup(n 
(23), &a vXrifHiStf (15), 0xwf v\rip<ilf$xi (23), rdre irXrfpiifOii (17). Peculiar: 
Kar 6paf> (12, 13, 19, 23), ^ip (15, 17, 23) ; peculiar to this chapter : oOSa- 
fJLQs{6), dxpipovp (7, 16), reXeuH/ (14), $vfu)wr0ai (16), dteHfs (16). 

Mt. has three ways of pointing out the fulfilment of prophecy, and all 
three of them are found in these two chapters : it is in connexion with them 
that rb t^Oip is commonly used. An event took place, either tpa w\ifp(i$y 
(i. 22, ii. 15, iv. 14, xxi. 4, xxvi. 56= Mk. ziy. 49), or 5irwf xXifpti^ 
(ii. 23, viii. 17, xiL 17, xiii. 35) ; or it took place, and t^€ /tX^/k^ii (ii. 17, 
xxvii. 9) — what the Prophet had said. 


m. 1-13. Tke Herald of the Messiah. 

The Evangelist has shown us how the Magi from the East 
have done homage to the newborn Messiah, and how the 
usurper-king tried to kill Him and failed. The true King, 
exiled for a time, outlived the usurper and returned to His own 
country, but not as yet to reign. At last the time draws near, 
and He has His herald in John the Baptist.^ 

The appearance of the son of Zachariah as a Prophet on the 
banks of the Jordan, preaching repentance-baptism for the re- 
mission of sins, and proclaiming the near approach of the 
Kingdom of God, produced an excitement throughout the nation 
which it is not easy for us to estimate. After having had a long 

^ This preparatory ministry of John is in all four Gospels. It is part of 
the earliest Christian tradition. £ach Gospel has details which are not in 
the others, but all a^ree as to the chief elements. The revolutionary rite of 
repentance-baptism for Jews is in all four. The proclamation of the coming 
Messiah is distinct ; and the coming has two results, — redemption for those 
who are ready, and judgment for those who are not See Briggs, 7^ 
Messiah of the Gospels, pp. 63 ff. 

It is possible that, in the quotation, ' in the wilderness ' should be taken 
with ' make ye ready the way of the Lord,' as in the RV. of Is. xl. 3, and 
not with ' The voice of one crying.' 


succession of Prophets, through whom dose communion with 
Jehovah was always possible, there had been, since Malachi 
(^. 460-430 B,a), four weary centuries, during which God 
seemed to have ceased to take interest in His people : ' There 
was no voice, nor any that answered.' This oppressive silence 
had at last been broken, and once more God had a message for 
the nation, spoken by the living voice of a herald sent by Him, 
and not merely recorded in the prophetic scrolls. But the 
message of this new Prophet was not altogether acceptable. It 
was a great joy that a Prophet had appeared. It was indeed 
good tidings that the Kingdom of God was at hand. But it was 
not such welcome news that not every child of Abraham would 
have the right to enter into the Kingdom ; that many of them 
had no better right than Gentiles had to enter into it ; and that 
even those who were not children of Abraham could win the 
right to enter. It had been the conviction of the Jews for many 
generations that salvation was for all of them, but for them only 
and the few proselytes who formally joined them. ■ For some 
time they had come to believe that the Advent of the Messiah 
would be both a time of joy and a time of judgment ; but the 
joys of the Kingdom were to be for themselves, while God's 
judgments were to fall upon the Gentiles. It shows the great 
originality of John as a Prophet that he entirely broke with these 
ideas. God had no such plan as that of a kingdom reserved for 
Abraham's children and peopled entirely by them. Out of the 
most unpromising material He could make subjects who in the 
Kingdom would be equal to the children of Abraham. And the 
axe of God's judgments was not for the wild olives only. Every 
tree that is not bringing forth good fruit is in peril. What is 
needed to secure entrance into the Kingdom is repentance, 
a change of heart (fMr<£voia), a fundamental revolution in 
moral purpose; and, as a sign and seal of this fundamental 
change, he required all who came to him confessing their sins to 
submit to the rite of baptism. In this he conformed to the ideas 
of his nation. In the East, nothing of importance takes place in 
religion without some external act which appeals to the senses 
and the imagination; and hence John's baptism. It was this 
surprising requirement that won for him the title by which he 
became known, *the Baptist' or 'the Baptizer' (Mk. i. 4, vL 
14, 24). And it was this which made the emissaries of the 
hierarchy challenge his right to make Jews submit to this sym- 
bolical bath (Jn. i. 25). It might almost be said that John had 
excommunicated the whole nation, and would re-admit none to 
communion, unless they professed, not merely sorrow for their 
sins, but resolution to break off from them and start afresh. As 
a token of this solemn change of life, he plunged them under the 


water, to bury the polluted past, and then made them rise again 
to newness of life. Analogies for this symbolical washing have 
been sought in the levitical purifications of the Jews and the 
frequent bathings of the Essenes. But there was this marked dif- 
ference. These purifications and bathings were repeated daily, 
or hourly, if technical pollution was suspected ; whereas John's 
baptism was administered only once. It represented a decisive 
crisis, which, it was assumed, could never be experienced again. 

It has been discussed whether ' baptism unto (cts) remission 
of sins ' means that forgiveness was the immediate effect of the 
baptism, or that it was an ultimate result towards which the rite 
was preparatory. Was it a symbol that the baptized person was 
then and there forgiven, or a pledge that he would be forgiven ? 
The latter seems to be correct (see Swete on Mk. L 4).^ Cyril 
of Jerusalem, in comparing John's baptism with the Christian 
rite, says that the former " b^towed only the remission of sins " 
(Catech. xx. 6; comp. iii. 7). But there is nothing in Scripture 
to show that it did as much as that. Tertullian points out that 
' baptism yS^r the remission of sins' refers to a yi^/t^fv remission, 
which was to follow in Christ {De BapL x.). The expression of 
Ambrose, that one is the ' baptism of repentance,' the other the 
' baptism of grace,' leaves the question of forgiveness open. But, 
if John had professed to foigive sins, would not that have been 
challenged, as it was in our Lord's case (ix. 3 ; Mk. iL 7 ; 
Lk. V. 21, vii. 49)? And, if it had been genersdly understood 
that John's baptism was a washing away of sins, would our Lord 
have submitted to it ? Its main aspect was a preparation for the 
Kingdom, and as such it fitted well into the opening of the 
Messiah's ministry. To every one else this preparation was an act 
of repentance. The Messiaii, who needed no repentance, could 
yet accept the preparation. John's rite consecrated the people 
to receive salvation ; it consecrated the Messiah to bestow it 

Of the two notes in John's trumpet-call it was the second 
which characterized him as the herald of the Messiah. The old 
Prophets had cried, 'Repent ye': he alone was commissioned 
to proclaim that ' the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.' It is a 
new reason for repentance that the long-looked-for Kingdom 
would come soon. 

John's baptism should be compared, not so much with 
levitical purifications or Essene bathings, which a person could 
administer to himself and could repeat, as with the baptism of 
proselytes, which was administered by another and could not be 
repeated. It did not merely restore the cleansed person to his 
normal condition ; it admitted to a new condition. The practice 

^ Salmon thinks otherwise ; but his reasons are not convincing ( Tht 
Hufnan EUment in tki Gospels^ p. 46). 


of admitting proselytes by baptism was in existence before John's 
day, and it no doubt influenced him. The peculiarity of John's 
baptism was that it was administered to Jews. By it the Jewish 
nation was forcibly instructed in the momentous truth, that, 
although they were Abraham's seed, they could not enter the 
Messianic Kingdom, which was now so near, without a thorough 
moral purification. It was John's function to reach men's 
consciences; and no earlier Prophet had been more successful 
in doing so. Those who came to him not merely confessed 
their sins ; by submitting to baptism they made a public resolu- 
tion to renounce them. 

There are questions of chronology and geography which 
cannot be determined with certainty ; but they are not of great 
impK>rtance^ as is shown by the small amount of attention 
bestowed on them by the Evangelists. We do not at all know 
how long John was in the wilderness before he came forward as 
a Prophet and as the herald of the Messiah. And it is not easy 
to make out exactly when and where he and the Messiah came 
m contact with one another, or when the Ministry of the Messiah 
begins. On the former question see Sanday, Sacred Sites of the 
Gospel^ p. 23, and articles on \ Bethabara ' : on the latter question 
see Briggs, New Light on the Life ofjesus^ pp. 1-16. 

This opening paragraph of the account of the Preparation 
for the Ministry of the Messiah is in two sections : the Appear- 
ance of the Baptist (1-6), and the Preaching of the Baptist 
(7-1 2). It is in the first section that both Mt and Lk. begin 
to make use of Mk., and here what is called " the triple tradition " 
begins. That expression is convenient, but it must not be 
understood as meaning that in such places we have three 
independent accounts of the same facts. All three accounts 
are based on one and the same source, viz. that which lies at the 
back of Mk. In the second section Mt. and Lk. both make 
use of another source, either unknown to Mk. or very little used 
by him (Q). They insert the contents of w. 7-10 before 
ver. II, and of ver. 12 after ver. 11. But in the first section 
Mt. and Lk. agree with one another against Mk. in two remark- 
able particulars. Mk. quotes the prophecy from Is. xl. 3 first 
and then mentions the appearance of the Baptist, while Mt. and 
Lk. place the appearance of John before the quotation. Again, 
Mk. quotes Mai. iii. i along with Is. xl. 3 as one utterance. 
Both Mt and Lk. omit Mai. iii. i here and give it elsewhere 
(xi. 10; Lk. viL 27), viz. in Christ's praise of John after his 
messengers had departed.^ 

^ On the problem presented by these agreements of Mt. and Lk. against 
Mk. see Hawkins, Ifora Synoptica, pp. 174, 175; Burkitt, The Gospel 
History and its Transmission ^ pp. 40-58. 


It is obvious that the ministry of the Baptist was a large 
portion of the preparation for that of the Messiah. There were 
three great occasions on which the Forerunner preceded the 
Messiah : at his birth, at the beginning of his ministry, and at 
his death. With regard to the last, Christ Himself called atten- 
tion to the precedence and the resemblance : * Even so shall the 
Son of man also suffer of them ' (xvii. 12). 

Mk. begins his narrative at this point. Both Mt and Lk. 
give some account of the childhood of the Messiah before 
joining the narrative of Mk., but they make the transition to 
Mk. in very different ways. Mt. starts with the vague expression, 
* Now in those days ' (Ev Sc nus rnUpai^ iK€Cvais), which is not 
in Mk., but which reminds us of the O.T. Comp. Ex. ii. 
II, 23; Judg. xviii. I, xxi. 25 ; Is. xxxviii. i. This is in marked 
contrast to the care with which the historian Luke endeavours 
to date the beginning of the ministry of the Baptist (Lk. iii. i, 2), 
and it seems to show that, as in the first two chapters, Mt does 
not take much interest in chronology. Without any intimation 
of the amount of interval, he leaps over some thirty years to those 
days in which the ministry of the Herald of the Messiah began. 

The description of the Baptist given by Josephus {Ant. 
XVIII. V. 2) should be compared with that in the Gospels. He 
says that he was " a good man, and exhorted the Jews to exercise 
virtue by practising righteousness towards one another and piety 
towards God, and thus to come to baptism. For in this way 
their baptism also would be acceptable to Him, if they practised 
it not for the cancelling (ira/xur^o-ci) of certain sins, but for the 
purification of the body, provided that the soul had been 
thoroughly cleansed beforehand by righteousness." John's hard 
mode of life was not mere asceticism. His object was not to 
make men ascetics, but to rescue them from the wrath to come. 
It was imminent, and in order to escape it they must abandon 
their pleasant sins. To help them towards this he lived a life 
of self-denial, wearing the coarse garment of a Prophet (2 Kings 
i. 8 ; Zee xiii. 4), and living on such coarse food as could be 
found in the wilderness.^ Lk. omits this account of John's mode 
of life, and Mk. places it after the statement respecting the 
success of his ministry, which attracted multitudes from long 

'The Kingdom of Heaven,' or, more literally, *The Kingdom 
of the Heavens,' is an expression which occurs 32 times in 

' It is doubtful whether the garment was a camel's skin with the hair on, 
or cloth made of camel's hair; whether the 'locusts' were the insects or 
carob-beans ; and whether the honey was that made by wild bees or the gum 
of a tree. Sec artt. * Camel,* * Locust,' * Husk,' * Honey ' in DCG, and £hc. 
BibL Did John adopt his dress in order to intimate to the people that h« 
was a Prophet? Comp. xi. 14, xvii. 10-13 > Lk. i. 17. 


Mt, while Mk. has *The Kingdom of God' 14 times, and Lk. 
has it 32 times. With the possible exception of xix. 24 = 
Mk. X. 25, Mt either omits or paraphrases Mk.'s expression, 
or changes it to * The Kingdom of the Heavens.' We may 
conjecture that in the Aramaic Logia of S. Matthew, and in 
the Greek translation used by our Evangelist, the phrase was 
' Kingdom of the Heavens,' and that Mk. and Lk., writing for 
Gentiles, preferred a less Jewish phrase. But in xii. 28 and 
xxL 31, 43, Mt. has 'The Kingdom of God,' perhaps to mark 
some difference of meaning which he thought was required. 
For him, *The Kingdom of the Heavens' is the Messianic 
Kingdom, which is declared to be near at hand ; and in these 
three passages he may have thought that this meaning was not 
quite suitable. But the probability is, that there is no real 
difference of meaning between the two phrases, that our Lord 
used both, and that He often spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, 
in accordance with Jewish usage. The Jews had many devices 
for avoiding the use of the sacred Name, and one of these was 
to speak of Heaven, when they meant God, as in the Parable 
of the Lost Son (Lk. xv. 18, 21). So also of the Baptism of 
John (Mt xxi. 25). This reverence had degenerated into super- 
stition, but our Lord would be likely to respect usage which had 
originated in reverence. Nevertheless, by frequently speaking 
of God, He gave no countenance to superstition. Mk. and Lk. 
may sometimes have changed * Heaven ' into * God,' because the 
latter was more intelligible to Gentiles; but Mt. has certainly 
made changes in order to avoid using the word ' God.' In his 
Gospel Christ speaks of God as ' Father ' more than 40 times ; 
in Lk. this occurs less than 20 times, in Mk. only 4 or 5 times. 
His bias, therefore, is manifest^ 

This Kingdom is the rule of God, whether in the human 
heart, or in society. It exists now, but it has its full realization 
in eternity.* Some have to seek and gain it Those who have 
gained it have to labour to retain it, and this retaining may be 
regarded as winning it 

It is to be noted that Christ Himself never gave any 
definition of the Kingdom, and perhaps it is not wise for us 
to attempt to do so. Any definition which we could frame would 
be almost certain to exclude important elements of truth. He 
seems to have used more than one phrase to express it, and He 
places each phrase in a variety of contexts which do not always 
seem to be quite harmonious. The idea of the Kmgdom is 

* See O. Holtzmann, Life of Jesus ^ pp. i6off. 

' See A. Robertson, Regnum Dei^ Bampton Lectures 1901, pp. 75-77 ; 
and for S. Paul's equivalent, Sanday in ihe Journal of Th, 5"/., July 1900, 
p. 481. 


planted in the minds of His hearers as a sort of nucleus round 
which different truths may gather. The Kingdom is sometimes 
the Way, sometimes the Truth, sometimes the Life. Perhaps 
most of all it is the Life. It is something living, organic, and 
inspiring, in which the will of God, through the free and loyal 
action of those who receive it, prevails. It works inwardly, both 
in individuals and communities, but it manifests itself outwardly. 
It wins adherents, and inspires and controls them. And it 
possesses powers, not merely of growth and improvement, but 
of recovery and reformation. While it prevails against the 
opposition and persecution of enemies, it triumphs also in the 
long-run over the errors and slackness and corruption of its own 
supporters. We possess it, and yet we have to seek it and win 
it. It is within us, and yet we have to strive to enter it The 
truth about it is so vast that we need to have it stated in all 
kinds of ways in order to appropriate some of it. 

In this world there is so much that cannot be regarded as part 
of the Kingdom, or even brought into harmony with it, that the 
tendency to connect the idea of it almost entirely with the 
future is very natural; and that is what we find in the First 
Gospel. To the Evangelist the Kingdom of Heaven is that 
Kingdom which the Messiah will found or bring with Him, when 
He returns in glory on the clouds of Heaven (xxiv. 30, xxvi. 64) ; 
it is still in the future. The parables in which the judgment, 
with bliss for the righteous and woe for the wicked, is indicated, 
represent this judgment, and the consequent bliss or woe, as 
future. This is evident in the Tares (xiiL 37 ff.), the Virgins 
(xxv. I ff.), and the Talents (xxv. 14 ff.). Still more clearly in 
the discourse about the Sheep and the Goats (xxv. 31 ff.)- 

And this return of the Messiah to begin the Kingdom was 
believed to be imminent. It would follow closely on the 
tribulation which must result from the destruction of Jerusalem 
(xxiv. 16, 29), and some of the generation then living would live 
to see it (xxiv. 34 ; comp. xvi. 28). Cheerful trust and con- 
fidence was to be the attitude of those who looked forward to its 
coming. The faithful were to pray for its coming (vi. 10). It 
was well worth while to part with pne's dearest possessions and 
even with life itself, in cider to secure admission into it (xiii. 44^ 
46, xvi. 25, 26). 

*The Kingdom of the Heavens* is not the Church. The 
Church is visible, the Kingdom not. The Kingdom is the end, 
complete, perfect, and final; the Church is the means to the 
end, working towards perfection and striving to realize its ideal 
So far as it expresses the will and character of the Messiah, the 
Church may be called the Kingdom of Christ, but it is not what 
is set before us in this Gospel as ' the Kingdom of the Heavens.' 


In this veise the leading idea is that of warning : ' repent, for the 
judgment of impenitent sinners is at hand.' 

The quotation from Is. xl. 3 is in all four Gospels, and it 
is clear from Jn. L 23 that the Baptist applied the words to 
himself. He was a Voice making known the Word, and mean- 
ingless without the Word. The quotation is mainly from the 
Septuagint The words from Malachi are given zL 10. 

John consciously took Elijah as his model (2 Kings L 8). 
There is the same rough garb and ascetic life, the same isolation 
from society and fearlessness towards it, the same readiness to 
rebuke either kings or multitudes. Herod and Herodias are to 
him as Ahab and Jezebel to his predecessor. The lives of both 
Prophets are a protest against the corruptions of contemporary 
society. But fax less than Elijah is John a despairing pessimist : 
his message is full of hope. And in this Gospel, as in Mk. and 
Jn., he comes on the scene with the same startling suddezmess 
with which Elijah enters (i Kings xvii. i). ''John leaps, as it 
were, into the arena full grown and full armed " (A. Maclaren ; 
comp. P^re Didon,/(^sus Christ j pp. 191, 196). But his asceti- 
cism was not mere acting ; it was the expression of his character 
and the instrument of his work. To the self-indulgent, self- 
denial is impressive. 

In the summary of the Baptist's preaching (7-12), which 
perhaps both Mt and Lk. take from memoirs of the Baptist 
(either written or in a stereotyped tradition), the dominant idea 
Ls that of judgment In Lk. (iii. 7) this stem warning is addressed 
to the people ; but it is probable that it was addressed to the 
Pharisees and Sadduoees, to whom it is much more appropriate.^ 
As addressed to them it shows how, from the very first, the 
leading sections of the nation were told that their rejection of the 
Messiah would be fatal. John welcomed the multitudes, but he 
suspected, or by spiritual intuition discerned, the insincerity of 
these professional religious guides. The formal piety of the 
Pharisees and the self-indulgent scepticism of the Sadducees 
would be equally hateful to him, and he meets them with 
indignant surprise. Why had they come ? Cunosity about this 
revolutionary preacher, possibly a wish to get a handle against 
him, or to learn how he gained such a hold upon the multitude, 
may have influenced them ; or the pressure of the people may 
have been too great for them to resist — they must come and see 
for themselves. All that is clear about them is that John does 

^ When Mt. and Lk. differ in those sections which are common to both 
bctt are absent from Mk., it is generally Mt. that seems to be nearer to the 
original source. Twice elsewhere in Mt. (xiL 34, xxiii. 33) the Pharisees 
are addressed as 'yipers' brood,' both times by our Lord. There is no 
parallel to either passage in Lk. Here the thought may be of snakes flying 
Dcfore a prairie-fire. 


not regard them as true penitents. They claim to be Abraham's 
children, but they have a very different parentage. Their 
serpent-like natures are among the crooked things that must be 
made straight, before they can be fit for a baptism of repentance. 
If they are in earnest, let them give some proof of it, and never 
suppose that mere birth from Abraham can save them ^ (Rom. 
ii. 17-29). See Montefiore, Synoptic Gospels^ p. 463. 

This is the first marked instance of the feeling of abhorrence 
for the Pharisees which runs through the First Gospel, and which 
continues down to xxvii. 62, where see note. Neither in Mk. 
nor in Lk. is there any indication that the Pharisees were 
denounced by the Baptist. And Jn., though he says that the 
Pharisees sent to inquire about the Baptist (i. 19, 24), gives no 
denunciation of them. 

Yet the Baptist seems to think them not quite hopeless. He 
exhorts them to bring forth good fruit before it is too late (8-10). 
He warns them that even now, although they do not at all 
expect it, judgment is at the door, and procrastination will be 
disastrous. Every one who does not repent will be destroyed 
(vii. 19) like a fruitless tree.* 

Here the address to the Pharisees and Sadducees, which 
Mt. and Lk. have in common, ends. What follows (11, 12) is 
common to all four, but by the others is placed somewhat 
differently (Mk. i. 7, 8 ; Lk. iiL 16, 17 ; Jn. i. 26, 27). Mt. adds 
it to the address to the Pharisees, with which it does not agree. 
John was not baptizing them unto repentance; nor would he 
have promised that the Messiah would baptize them with the 
Holy Spirit But the ruling idea of this second address (ff7. it, 
12) is still one of judgment. 

It is his office to bind them to a new life, symbolized by 
immersion in water. But One far mightier, whose bondservant 
he is unworthy to be,^ is coming to immerse them in an element 
far more potent — the Holy Spirit and fire. Mt alone has * unto 
repentance' (11); comp. xxvi. 28. 

The meaning of ' baptizing with fire ' (which is not in Mk. 
or Jn.) is difficult Apparently the same persons ('you') are 
baptized with the Spirit and with fire. In that case, the ' fire ' 
would mean the illuminating, kindling, purifying character of the 
Messiah's baptism (Mai. iii. 2, 3) to all those who prepare them- 

^ On the variation between /u^ dd^i/re (Mt) and /u^ Ap^rjirOe (Lk.) see 
J. H. Moulton, Grammar of N. T, Greek, i. p. 15. 

' In the statement that God can raise up children to Abraham out of the 
most unlikely material, we have another intimation that Gentiles may come 
in to enjoy that which Jews neglect or abuse. 

' The aorist 3aar£rai may mean ' not worthy to carry His sandals even 
once.' So also in Mk. i. 7, XOaai r. l/jLdtrrn. The baptising in Jordan may 
have suggested the carrying of sandak at the bath. 


selves to receive it But the * you ' may embrace the two classes 
of penitent and impenitent ; and in the next verse two classes are 
clearly distinguished. On this hypothesis it is commonly sup- 
posed that the graces of the Spirit are for the one, and penal fire 
for the other. There is yet a third possibility : that both classes 
are baptized in the Spirit and in fire. The result of such 
baptism will be, that those who have prepared themselves for 
the Messiah will be enabled to attain to that righteousness to 
which repentance-baptism leads ; they will be purified, warmed, 
and enlightened ; while those who have refused to prepare them- 
selves mil be consumed, as chaff, with unquenchable fire.^ The 
same influences to the one class are salvation, to the other 
destruction. But, in any case, we must beware of drawing 
unwarranted conclusions from metaphorical language. Just as 
'fire' tells us nothing about the manner in which God's 
judgments are executed upon the unrepentant, so ' unquenchable ' 
tells us nothing about the duration of the punishment. 'Un- 
quenchable' {Sa-ptoTos) does not necessarily mean that the fire 
will bum for ever; still less that it will bum, but never consume, 
what is in it; but rather that it is so fierce that it cannot be 
extinguished. Here it is expressly stated that the worthless 
matenal will be consumed. But inferences drawn from meta- 
phors are very insecure (see on v. 26). 

In ver. 12 Mt returns to the source which he uses in common 
with Lk. So far as there is difference of wording, Mt seems 
again to be more original. The repetition of 'His' (avrov) in 
both cases is remarkable. It is ' His fan,' and ' His threshing- 
floor,' and ' His wheat' In some texts it is also ' His gamer,' as 
in Lk. But it is not His chaff or His fire. This Mightier than 
John is not, like John himself, a mere instmment : He is King 
in the Kingdom which John has come to announce. It is also 
remarkable that neither here nor in the message which he sends 
to Jesus (xi. 3) does John speak of Him as the Christ The 
reason may possibly be that the popular ideas respecting the 
Messiah were so grossly erroneous. 

In the summaries of the Baptist's preaching, two verses 
(11, 12) are in all four Gospels; four (7-10) are common to Mt 
and Lk., while the remainder are peculiar to Lk. (iii. 10-14). 
" It is natural to believe that those verses are oldest which are 
most frequently produced, and those the latest which are in one 

^The Sinaitic Syriac places the 'fire' before the 'Holy Spirit'; and 
some authorities omit 'and in fire.' Briggs thinks that in the original 
Aramaic there was no mention of the Spirit, and that the line ran : ' He will 
baptize you with fire' {Ti^ Messiah of the Gospels^ p. (fj). The idea of 
judgment was probably uppermost in John's mind, when he spoke of 
oaptizing in fire. Or ' fire ' may refer to the persecution which the CAptized 
must expect. 


Gospel only" (Wright, Synopsis^ p. 6). The inference is not 
quite secure. 

HI. 18-17. The Messiah baptized by the Herald and proclaimed 

by God to be His Son. 

Painters have made us familiar with the idea that the Christ 
and the Baptist were playmates during their childhood ; but we do 
not know that they ever met, until Jesus came to be baptized by 
John. The absence of evidence makes a previous meeting im- 
probable. And just as we do not know how long John was in 
the wilderness before he came forward as a Prophet, so we do 
not know how long he had been working as a Prophet and as 
' the Baptist ' when the Messiah came to him. Mt gives us no 
more than his characteristic * Then,' Le, during the time when 
John was preaching and baptizing. And the Messiah came 
expressly to be baptized. It was not because John recognized 
Him as the Messiah that he was at first unwilling to baptize Him. 
John had not yet received the sign by which he was to know the 
Messiah, and until this special revelation was granted to him he 
was as ignorant as others that Jesus was the Christ (Jn. L 33). 
But he baptized no one without a preliminary interview, which in 
all other cases was a confession of sins as a guarantee of repent- 
ance. The preliminary interview with his kinsman from Nazareth 
convinced John that he was in the presence of One who had no 
sins to confess, and who therefore, in an unspeakable degree, was 
morally his superior. It would be far more fitting that he should 
confess his sins to Jesus and be baptized by Him, the only 
Sinless One. And Jesus, by His reply, * Suffer it to be so now^* 
seems to admit that John's plea for an interchange of positions 
is not a false one. He knows, far better than John himself. His 
own superiority; but He also knows that what both of them 
have to do is to fulfil what God has willed. It was God's 
will that all Israel should be baptized and enter the Kingdom, 
and God's own Son, who claimed no exemption from paying 
tribute to the Temple (xviL 25, 26), claims no exemption here. 
At the end of His ministry. He was to be baptized in suffer- 
ing (Lk. xiL 50 ; Mk. x. 38), and to bear the sins of others, as a 
sinless Victim, on the tree (i Pet. ii. 24). Must He not, at the 
beginning of His ministry, express His sympathy with those who 
were burdened by sin, although He had none of His own, by 
submitting to be baptized by John? He, like others, could bury 
His past beneath the waters of Jordan, and rise again to a life in 
accordance with God's will. The change with them was from a 
life of sin, displeasing to God, to a life of righteousness, accept- 
able to Him. The diange with Him was from the home-life of 


intellectual and spiritual development (Lk. ii. 52) to the life of 
public ministry as the Messiah ; but both were equally pleasing 
to God. The thirty years of peaceful preparation are buried; 
and the Messiah comes out of Jordan for the storm and stress of 
the work that His Father has given Him to do. 

We need not infer from the words * Jesus cometh from 
Galilee ' (Mk. ' came from Nazareth of Galilee ') that our Lord 
was the first who came to John from that district More 
probably the expression merely calls attention to the fact that 
the Messiah now leaves His home and is seen in public. The 
attempt of John to prevent Him from being baptized by him, 
and Christ's reply to him, are recorded by Mt alone ; and the 
reply is the first utterance attributed to the Messiah in this 
Gospel. But we need not suppose that they are invented by the 
Evangelist to get rid of the difficulty of a sinless Messiah accept- 
ing repentance-baptism. Could Mt. have invented the Messiah 's 
reply? What the imagination of Jewish Christians of the first 
ages could do in dealing with this difficulty is seen from a 
fragment of the Gospel according to the Hebrews which is 
preserved by Jerome {Adv. Pelag, iii. 2). " Behold the Mother 
of the Lord and His brethren said to Him, John the Baptist 
baptizeth for the remission of sins ; let us go and be baptized by 
him. But He said to them, What sin have I committed, that I 
should go and be baptized by him? Except perchance this very 
thing that I have said is ignorance." A similar narrative was 
contained in a writing called the Preaching of Paul, as is seen 
from the Tractatus de JRebaptismate^ 17 (Hartel, ii. p. 90), where . 
it is said that in the Prcedicatio Faulij " in opposition to all the 
Scriptures, you will find Christ, the only person who was 
absolutely free from fault, both making confession respecting 
EUs own sin, and that almost against His will He was compelled 
by His Mother Mary to receive the baptism of John ; and also 
that, when He was being baptized, fire was seen upon the water, 
which is not written in any Gospel." But, as Klostermann 
remarks, the difficulty felt about the baptism of Jesus is strong 
evidence to its being an historical fact 

It is here that we come on the first of the points of contact between Mt. 
and the Epistles of Ignatius. That Ignatius knew Mt. cannot reasonably be 
doubted ; and in him we have a marked illustration of what is so common a 
feature in early Christian literature, that parallels with Mt. are more frequent 
and closer than parallels with Mk. or Lk. This is the case in Hermas and 
2 Qement, perhaps also in i Clement and Polycarp. As soon as this Gospel 
¥ras published, it seems to have become the favourite ; and even now it is 
probably more read than the others. I^^natius {Smym, i) speaks of our 
Lord as " truly bom of a virgin, and baptized by John that all righteousness 
might be fulfilled b^ Him ** (Ira vKinpfa&i rSura ducacoo-^), a reason for His 
Baptism which is given by Mt. alone. Comp. Ign. Pol l, vdyras pdirraj^e, 
wf jccU (Tc 6 K^pun . • . wArrtm tAi w69mn piirro^tf with Mt viiL 17 ; Pol, a. 


<f>p^tfios yivov ws 6 0^cf iv tSutip, koX dxipouos dn ^ ireptorepd, with Mt. x. i6 ; 
JSph. 5, €l ydp Ms Kal Sevripov Tpoffevx^l roaa&ryip Irxpp fxei, with Mt. xviii, 
19, 20 ; £pA, 6, oCfrwt Sel iifiS,s a^bp d/pf6<r9a(, d)S a^bv rbw x^ju^orra, with 
Mt. X. 40; Tra//. 11 {Philad, 3), o5roi -yAp oHk eUrof (pvrela varpis, with 
Mt. XV. 13; and Smym, 6, h x^9^^ X^P^'''^i ^^^ ^^ xix* i^* See 
Lightfoot's notes in each place. There are other passages, less clear than 
these, where Ignatius seems to recall Mt. 

Mk. tells us that Jesus, ' straightway coming up out of the water, saw 
the heavens being rent asunder' (el8eF ax^^ofUvoin rods o6papo6s), a graphic 
expression, which is the more remarkable because there seems to be no other 
example of this verb (which all three have of the rending of the veil of the 
Temple) being used of rending the heavens. Here both Mt and Lk. have 
the O.T. verb, which was evidently in common use for the opening of the 
heavens {dpet^Brfcap airrff ol oipwA) ; comp. Jn. L 51 ; Acts x. 11 ; Rev. 
iv. I. So also in the Septuagint : Is. Ixiv. i, Ezek. L I, which is perhaps 
the earliest example of the idea of the heavens being opened. In Gen. vii. 11 
the windows of heaven are opened for the rain, ana in Ps. Ixxviii. 23 the 
doors of heaven for the manna, but that is not the same idea ; nevertheless 
there also the same verb is used. The Testaments of the XII. Patriarchs 
exhibit the same constant usage : Lem ii. 6, v. i, xviii. 6 ; Jttdah xxiv. 2. 
The last two passages are Messianic, and are strikingly parallel to the Gospel 
narrative. '* The heavens shall be opencKl, and from the temple of glory shall 
come upon him sanctification, with the Father's voice as nom Abraham to 
Isaac. And the glory of the Most High shall be uttered over him, and the 
spirit of understanding and sanctification shall rest upon him [in the water].*' 
The last three words are probably a Christian interpolation of early date. 
Near the end of the passage we read that "the Lord shall rejoice in His 
children, and be well pleased in His beloved ones for ever " ; irat e^doxi^o-et 
irX rocf d^amTrptt a^oO ttas alQpos (xviii. i^). The similar passap^e in the 
Testament of Tudah runs thus : " And no sm shall be found in htm. And 
the heavens shall be opened unto him, to pour out the spirit, the blessing 
6f the Holy Father." For the combination of opened heavens with a voice 
from heaven, comp. the Apocalypse of Baruch xxii. I : "The heavens 
were opened, and I saw, and power was given to me, and a voice was 
heard from on high."^ For the opening of the heavens without a voice 
comp. Cic. De Dtvin, i. 43 ; Livy, xxiL I. Other references in Klostermann 
on Mk. 

Mt follows Mk. in stating that Jesus saw the Spirit 
descending; Jn. says that the Baptist saw it; Lk. that the 
descent took place as Jesus was praying. We need not suppose 
that others saw it, or even that others were present Possibly 
our Lord waited till He could be alone with John. With the 
symbolical vision of the dove we may compare the symbolical 
visions of Jehovah granted to Moses and other Prophets ; and 
we have no right to say that such visions are impossible, and 
that those who say that they have had them are victims of a 
delusion. Every messenger of God must be endowed with the 
Spirit of God in order to fulfil his mission ; and there is nothing 
incredible in the statement that in the case of the Messiah, as in 
the case of the Apostles, this endowment was made known by a 

^ Zahn compares the combination, ' opened His mouth and taught ' (v. 2) ; 
comp. Acts viu. 35, x. 34, xviii 14. 


peroeptible sign.^ In the case of Old Testament Prophets, there 
was sometimes a violent effect on body and mind, when the 
Spirit of the Lord came upon them. But here, as at Pentecost, 
aU is peaceful, and peaceful symbols are seen. The sinless Son 
of Man is the place where this Dove can find a rest for its foot 
(Gen. viiL 9) and abide upon Him (Is. xliL i). Again, in the 
case of the repentant people, the baptism in water was by John, 
the baptism in the Spirit was to be looked for from the Messiah. 
In the Messiah's case, the two baptisms are simultaneous. He 
who is to bestow the Spirit Himself received it, and He receives 
it under the form of a dove. 

The contrast between this anointing of the Messiah, this 
coronation of the promised King, and the Herald's proclamation 
of the coming of the Kingdom is remarkable. John had foreseen 
that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by an 
outpouring of the Spirit ; but his mind is full of the thought that 
God's vineyard has become a wilderness, and that vast changes 
are necessary in order to make Israel in any degree ready for the 
coming of the Messiah. Many, perhaps most, will be found still 
unprepared, and 'the Coming' will be chiefly a coming of 
judgment. To him, therefore, the outpouring of the Spirit is a 
baptizing in fire. Fire to him is the most fitting symbol. But 
when the Messiah Himself comes to him, John sees the Spirit 
descending in the form of a dove (see Driver on Gen. L 2 and 
Deut xxxiL 11). Meekness and gentleness are the qualities 
commonly associated with the dove. The metaphor of fire is 
true; the Spirit of necessity searches and consumes; but the 
attributes of the Dove are equally true. The Messiah is ^ meek 
and lowly in heart' (xi. 29, xxi. 5); it is by meekness that His 
ministers prevail (x. 16), and it is the meek who inherit the earth 

(v. 5). 

But we are not to understand that He who was conceived 

by the Spirit was devoid of the Spirit until the Baptism ; ' nor 

that the gift of the Spirit then made any change in His nature. 

^ It IS of no importance whether the eye saw and the ear heard ; whether, 
if others had been present, they would have seen and heard. What is of 
importance is, that there was a real manifestation, a communication from 
God to man, and no mere delusion of a disordered brain. What was per- 
ceived as a dove was the Spirit of God, and what was perceived as a voice 
was the word of God. 

* It was perhaps in order to avoid this idea that Mt. (16), followed by 
Lk., changea the els Q.(rr6v of Mk. into iir airrhv : * into Him ' might seem to 
im|^ that previously there had been a void. In the Ebionite Gospel quoted 
by Epiphanins (Har. xxz. 13) the dove is described as entering mto Him : 
cfScy ri wwevfta t6 Ayiov iv efSei irepurTepas xareX^oi^f xal €Ur€\0o6<nfs els 
ai^rdr. There also we have ''a great light" accompanying the voice. 
Comp. Justin M. Try. 88 ; also the Diatessaron (Burkitt, £van^e/um d^- 
Mepkarrahef vl p. 115). 


Some Gnostics imagined that the descent of the Spirit then was 
the moment of the Incarnation, and that, until the Baptism, He 
was a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary. That is not the 
teaching of Scripture ; nor is it easier to believe than what is told 
us in Scripture. But the new gift of the Spirit may have illumin- 
ated even Him, and made Him more fully aware of His relations 
to God and to man (Lk. ii. 52). For Him it marked the 
beginning of His public career as the Messiah, like the anointing 
of a king. For John it was the promised revelation, and he now 
had Divine authority for declaring that the Coming One had 
come. This was the last of his three functions. He had 
previously to predict the coming of the Messiah, and to prepare 
the people for His coming. When he has pointed out the 
Messiah, his work will be nearly complete. 

The voice from heaven here, and at the Transfiguration, and 
before the Passion (Jn. xii. 28), follows upon our Lord's prayer, 
and may be regarded as the answer to it He who on the Cross 
cried, ' Why hast Thou forsaken Me ? ' may have been, on each 
of these occasions, capable of receiving help from such testimony 
as this from the Father.^ Both Mk. and Lk. have ^Thou art 
My Son,' which some authorities have in Mt. also ; and this form 
implies that the voice had a special meaning for the Messiah, 
and was not meant for John alone. And, as addressed to John, 
it tells him of the Messiahship, rather than of the Divinity of 
Jesus. Even John was hardly ready for a revelation of the 
unique relation in which the Messiah stood to the Godhead; 
and we can hardly suppose that the Divinity of Christ, which was 
only gradually revealed towards the close of the Ministry, was at 
the outset made known to John at the beginning of it (Briggs, 
The Messiah of the Gospels^ p. 77). 

There are three ways of taking the sentence : (i) This is My 
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; (2) This is My Son, 
the Beloved, in whom I am well pleased^ (3) This is My Son, the 
Beloved in whom I am well pleased.^ The chief point is whether 
' the Beloved ' is a separate title, indicating the Messiah. In any 
case there seems to be a reference to the Son of God promised 
in Ps. ii. 7, where the Messiah quotes Jehovah as constituting 
His Son and giving Him the nations as His inheritance. 

^ In the Messianic hymn in the Testament of Levi, of which the opeoxng 
words were Quoted on Mt. ii. 2, there is this prophecy : " The heavens shul 
be opened, And from the temple of gloiy shall come on him sanctification, 
With the Father's voice as from Abraham to Isaac. And the gloiy of the 
Highest shaU be uttered over him, And a spirit of miderstanding and 
sanctification shall rest upon him " {Levi xviil 6, 7). 

*J. Armitage Robinson, Ephesiam^ p. 229, and Hastings* DB, ii. p^ 
501, DCG,^ art. ' Voice' ; Dalman, Words of Jesut^ p. 204 ; Wnght, SynopUs^ 
p. 9 ; Charles, Ascemian of Isaiah ^ p. 3. 


'This is' is doabtless the true readine here ; bttt the Old Latin a, with 
the Curetonian and Sinaitic Syriac and Irenseus, sapports D in reading 
'Thou art' for 'This is.' All three Synoptists have 'This is' of the voice 
at the Transfifi^uration (xvii. 5). For other variations and additions here see 
Resch, Agrapka, 2nd ed. pp. 36, 222. 

On \£it introductory words to ch. iii., 'Br ^ rtSt iifUpais ^icefrcut, see 
Dioosten in the>^r. ofTh. St., Oct. 1904, p. 99; and comp. xi. 25, xii. i, 
ziiL I, ziv. I, xxii. 23. In ver. 3 read Sid (K B C D 33 157 700, Latt.)i not 
^i, before 'Ho-otov ; and in ver. 8 read Kxtprhv d^iw (K B C E etc. 565 700, 
Latt. Sah. Boh., Orig.), not Kapirodt dfiovs. The insertion of TcUra before 
^UfioaSkuiUL in ver. 5 (Lat-Vet Aeth.) is interesting : comp. the TSUra in iL 3. 

Among the expressions which are characteristic of Mt are iv8v/ia (4), 
SoddovjcoiM (7), whom Mt. mentions far more often than any other Evangelist 
(once each in Mk. and Lk. and never in Jn.), yeyr/jpLara ix^ZvQw (7), trwiyew 
(12), r^m (13), Kal IboO (16, 17). Here tor the first time we have the phrase 
which more than any other distinguishes this Gospel, 1^ fiacrCKela tQp o^powQp 
(2) ; see Dalman, T^ Words of Jesus, pp. 91 (T. Neither StaKoBapli^etw (12) 
nor SuLKtoK^ip (14) occur elsewhere in Uie N.T. 

IV. l-U. Tke Temptation of the Messiah. 

It is the common experience of mankind that times of special 
spiritual endowment or exaltation are followed by occasions of 
special temptation. The Messiah is no exception. No sooner 
is He anointed with the Spirit for the work of the Ministry than 
He has to undergo a fierce conflict with the great personal power 
of eviL We have no right to assert that there had been no 
previous attacks ; and we know that there were subsequent attacks 
(xvL 23 ; Lk. xxii. 28, 42-44). But this attack is of a special 
kind; it is an attempt to overthrow the Messiah at the very 
opening of His public career as the Saviour of the world, just 
as the Agony in the garden was caused by an attempt to over- 
throw Him when that career was near its awful close. And it 
is encountered under the guidance of the Spirit, as all three 
Evangelists point out Jesus, who certainly from His Baptism 
onwards is fully conscious of His Messiahship, knows what 
awaits Him in the wilderness. He goes thither to meditate 
upon the work which His Father has given Him to do, and 
which must be carried out in accordance with the Father's will. 
That work was * to destroy the works of the devil ' : conflict with 
the evil one was of its very essence from beginning to end. And 
conflict involved the inexpressible torture of contact. Contact 
with moral evil is intense suffering to a pure soul. What must 
this have been in the case of Jesus ? Yet He shares this most 
acute agony with His saints.^ 

The temptation in which the Son of Man conquered is the 
counterpart of the temptation in which man first fell. As the 
descendant and representative of a fallen race, it is His mission 

^ Pire Didon,y?fiif Christ, p. 214. Adhocpugnat Imporator, utdiscant 
miHtes (Augustine). 


to vanquish in the sphere in which they have been vanquished ; 
and there is no postponement of the struggle. All three accounts 
make the conflict with Satan the first act of the Messiah after 
His consecration for His work. * Then was Jesus led up by the 
Spirit' (Mt). ^And straightway the Spirit urgeth Him forth' 
(Mk.). 'And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the 
Jordan, and was led in the Spirit ' (Lk.). Mk. and Lk. imply 
that the temptations lasted throughout the forty days. Mt 
places the temptations towards the close of the time, when, after 
the long ecstatic fast, natural cravings were felt and Satan had 
a special opportunity. Lk. agrees in placing these particular 
temptations at the close. As in the case of the Baptist's teaching 
(iii. 7-12 = Lk. iii. 7-17), Mt and Lk. may here also have had 
similar, but independent sources of information, either oral or 

The ultimate source of information must have been our Lord 
Himself, as the most rigorous criticism admits. His disciples 
would not have been likely to think that He could be tempted 
to evil ; and, if they had supposed that He could, they would 
have imagined quite different temptations for Him, as various 
legends of the saints show.^ The form, therefore, in which the 
temptations are described, is probably our Lord's, chosen by 
Him as the best means of conveying the essential facts to the 
minds of His followers.^ It does not follow, because the tempta- 
tions are described separately, that they took place separately, 
one ceasing before the next began. Temptations may be simul- 
taneous or interlaced; and, in describing these three, Mt and 
Lk. are not agreed about the order. Nor does it follow, because 
the sphere of the temptation changes, that the locality in which 
Christ was at the moment was changed. We need not suppose 
that the devil had control over our Lord's person and took Him 
through the air from place to place: he directs His thoughts 

^ Mk. speaks of 'Satan,' where both Mt. and Lk. have 'the devil.' In 
Job i. 6 and Zech. iii. i the Septnagint has 6 StdpoKot where the Hebrew has 

' " At the time when the story of the Temptation was first told and first 
written, no one possessed that degree of insight into the nature of our Lord's 
mission and ministry which woala have enabled him to invent it " (Sanday). 

' " In this our Lord goes to what may seem to be great lengths in the use 
that He makes of the traditional machinery of Judaism. . . . The Power of 
Evil is represented in a personal bodily form, and the machinery or setting 
of the story is full of the marvellous — locomotion through the air to impossible 
positions and with impossible accompaniments, such as the literal view of all 
the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. . . . Realism could hardly go 
farther. And yet the meaning and essence of the Temptation is wholly spiritual ; 
it is the problem what is to be done with supernatural powers: shall the 
possessor of them use them for his own sustenance, or for his own aggrandise- 
ment?" (Sanday, TJU I^% of Christ m Rumt Jiutmxh^ pp. 27, 28, I09| 


to this or that. The change of scene is mental. From no 
high mountain could more than a small fraction of the world 
be seen ; but the glory of all the kingdoms of the world could 
be suggested to the mind. Nor again do the words, ' the tempter 
came and said to Him/ imply that anything was seen by the 
eye or heard by the ear : any one of us might describe his own 
temptations in a similar way.^ What these words do imply is 
that the temptations came to Him from the outside ; they were 
not the result, as many of our temptations are, of previous sin. 

In short, in making known His experiences in the wilderness, 
the Messiah acted somewhat as the Forerunner did in preparing 
the way for Him. He coupled his moral teaching with a 
picturesque symbolical act, such as Orientals love, in order to 
impress upon his hearers the necessity for a complete break 
with the past and a new start. The Messiah describes His 
temptations in a way which impressed upon the disciples the 
absolute antagonism between Himself and moral evil, the violence 
of the attacks, and the completeness of the victory. A dialogue 
between Himself and the prince of the world would be the 
simplest mode of producing this impression and rendering it 
permanent; and dialogue, like symbolical rites, was a favourite 
way with Orientals of conveying moral and spiritual instruction. 
There is no need to suppose that anything was audibly said on 
one side or the other. 

But it is rash to assert that ' Satan ' is only a generic name 
for impersonal evil impulses.' Science has no objections to 
urge against the existence of personal powers of evil ; indeed 
some psychological phenomena are held to be in favour of such 
an hypothesis. And the teaching of our Lord and the Apostles 
is quite clear on the subject. It is incredible, as Keim has 
pointed out, that all the passages in which He speaks of the evil 
one and of evil spirits are interpolations. " Jesus plainly desig- 
nated His contention with the empire of Satan as a personal 
one" {/esus of Nazara^ Eng. tr., ii. pp. 315, 325). Only three 
hypotheses are possible. Either (i) He accommodated His lan- 
guage to a gross superstition, knowing it to be such ; or (2) He 
shared this superstition, not knowing it to be such ; or (3) the 
doctrine is not a superstition, but a truth which it concerns 
OS to know. Even those who regard Him as merely the most 

^ Mt. is very fond of rpoiripxeffBtu, and this is his first use of the verb, 
which occurs more 'often in this Gospel than in the rest of the N.T. : iv. 3, 
II, V. I, viii. 2, 5, 19, 25, ix. 14, 20, 28, xiii. 10, 27, 36, etc. etc. In the 
true text atrtp comes after etirev, not after rpoaeXdtby, 

* At the very outset two personal influences, other than that of Christ 
Himself, are clearly indicated: 'Jesus was led up ^ the Spirit (Wb rod 
Upc^fULTOi) to be tempted dy the devil {inrb toO Siap6\ov).* The repetition 
of the same preposition is probably not accidentaL 


enlightened spiritual teacher which the world has ever seen might 
hesitate to assert that He was ignorant in such a matter, or that 
He encouraged error (xiii. 19, 39, xxv. 41), when He knew the 
truth. That the Jews had many superstitious beliefs about Satan 
and other evil spirits, some of them borrowed from other systems, 
is true enough ; but that is no evidence as to the non-existence 
of such beings. Excepting in the Epistle of Jude and 2 Peter, 
there is little trace of such beliefs in the New Testament, where 
the existence of the devil and demons is taken for granted See 
Gore, Dissertations on Subjects connected with the Incarnation^ 
pp. 23-27 ; Edersheim, Life of Jesus the Messiah^ ii., App. xiii. ; 
Charles, Book of Enochs pp. 52, 119; Book of Jubilees^ p. Ivi; 
Hastings, DCG.y art * Demon,' DB,^ art. 'Satan'; Neander, 
Life of Christy § 47. 

The story of the Temptation has an important bearing on the 
question of miracles.^ We have seen that the source of the 
narrative must have been our Lord Himself, for no one at the 
time when the narrative was written down could have invented 
it But the temptations assume that our Lord could work 
miracles. The whole narrative collapses, if He could not and 
did not do so. It is incredible that any one should have told 
such a story about himself to persons who knew that he had 
never done any mighty work. It is equally incredible that any 
one should invent such a story about a person who had never 
been known to do anything of the kind.* 

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews insists upon three 
points (ii. 18, iv. 15), and they suffice, i. The temptations were 
real. 2. Jesus was absolutely victorious. 3. One reason for His 
subjecting Himself to such trials was that we might be sure of 
His sympathy in our temptations. The first point involves 
difficulty. How could evil be attractive to Him? and, if it 
was not attractive, where was the temptation ? But many things 
which are morally wrong may seem to promise great advantages ; 
and the most saintly person, who never hesitates for an instant, 
may yet feel the attractiveness of the advantages. And the man 
who never yields is the man who has felt the full force of the 
temptation; for the man who yields has not waited for the 
tempter to do his worst Hence the fallacy of supposing that, 

^ " The temptations are such as scarcely any one but Himself could have 
had experience of. They all turn on the conflict that arises when one who 
is conscious that he is possessed of supernatural power feels that there are 
occasions when it woula not be right that he should exercise it " (Salmon, 
The Human Element^ p. 64). 

' It is strong confirmation of the miracles attributed to Jesus that none 
were attributed to the Baptist, either by himself or by his disciples, strongly 
as he impressed them (Neander, Life of Christ, § 38). See Sanday, Outtines 
of the Ufe of Christy pp. lOl AT. 


in order to have complete sympathy with sinners, Jesus ought to 
have consented to sin. It is precisely because He resisted in 
all cases to the very end, that He knows, as no one else has ever 
known, how severe the strain of temptation can be. In one 
particular He has not shared, and could not share, our experience 
in reference to temptation. He has never felt shame or remorse 
for having sinned. But otherwise He has shared our experiences 
to the full. All our temptations are brought about through the 
instrumentality of pleasure or pain. In the wilderness our Lord 
withstood the seductiveness of effortless comfort and success and 
glory ; in Gethsemane He withstood the dread of suffering and 
^ure and a shameful death. 

It is through the Messiahship, which has just been super- 
naturally confinned to Him, that the attack is made. It is 
suggested to Him that He may exercise His Messianic power 
at once and thereby save Himself much suffering and trouble : 
and will not this be helping forward the very work that lies before 
Him? But, while the evil one urges the Messiahship, Jesus 
Himself seems to leave it out of consideration. To Satan's plea, 
•If Thou art the Son of God,' He makes no direct reply. His 
answers are those of a dutiful child of God rather than those of 
the Divine Son. 

It is sometimes said that the first temptation is a temptation 
of the fiesh.^ But that would rather have been a temptation to 
eat greedily or to excess. Satan's suggestion is a manifest refer- 
ence to the voice from heaven : * Hath God said, Thou art My 
Son, and yet said, Thou shalt not eat?' (Comp. Gen. iii. i.) 
Why should He starve in the wilderness, when, as God's Son, 
He has power to turn stones into loaves ? God fed His people 
by frequent miracles in the wilderness : may not His Son work 
one miracle to feed Himself? What would have become of 
God's plans for Israel, if the people had died of starvation? 
What will become of the Messiah's work, if He allows Himself to 
perish for want of food ? In short, Jesus is to work a miracle in 
order to prove the truth of His conviction that He is the Son of 
God, a conviction that has just been confirmed by the voice of 
God Himself. 

Our Lord's reply seems to show that He recognizes an 
allusion to the manna in the evil one's suggestion. All His 
answers are from Deuteronomy, on which He may recently have 

* See Milton, Paradise Regained, 340-390, where all the dainties which 
Satan showed to our Lord are described, and our Lord rejects the " pompous 
delicacies." But this is quite erroneous. The temptation is directed to the 
mind, not to the senses. God allows Him to suffer hunger ; then can He 
be God's Son? See Wright, Synopsis ^ p. 11, on our Lord's fosting. It is 
rash to say that because of the fasting and hunger '* the temptation to turn 
the stone into a loaf must have come last " ( JVesiminsUr N, T» p. 43). 


been meditating.^ This quotation of Deut. viii. 3 has direct 
reference to the manna. It may be doubted whether the 
comment which is sometimes made upon it is its precise meaning 
here. No doubt it is true that man has more important needs 
than that of food, and that, unless his spiritual wants are supplied, 
he can hardly be said to live. But that does not fit the context 
The point rather is, that food will not keep a man alive, unless 
God says that he is to live ; and if God says that he is to live, 
he will live, whether he has food or not. Jesus knows that God 
wills that He should live, and He leaves all in God's hands. He 
refuses to work a miracle which God has not willed, in order 
to effect what God has willed. To the insinuated doubt as 
to His being really the Son of God He makes no reply. He 
gives an answer which holds good for any human being who 
is a loyal believer in Providence; quasi unus e mulHs laguitur 

Mt and Lk. vary as to the order of the next two temptations, 
and it is idle to ask which order is more likely to be correct^ 
To Mt it may have seemed that the offer of all the kingdoms 
of the world was the most severe temptation, and therefore 
appropriately comes last Lk. may have thought that the Temple 
was a fitting scene for Satan's last effort Comp. xii. 39-42, 
where Mt has Jonah, Ninevites, Queen of the South, whUe Lk. 
(xi. 29-32) has Jonah, Queen of the South, Ninevites. 

The devil once more insinuates the doubt about Christ's 
being the Son of God, which seems to show that this second 
temptation is partly a repetition of the first If He will not 
prove His Messiahship by working a miracle to save Himself 
from being starved to death, will He not let God prove it by 
working a miracle to save Him from being dashed to pieces ? * 
And this second temptation is not only thus linked on to the 
first ; it also appears to prepare the way for the third. Like it, 
it is perhaps a suggestion that He should take an easy road to 
success. So prodigious a sign as that of falling unharmed from 
the top of the Temple would, even against their wills, convince 

^ The ''spiritual setting forth of the Law" in Deuteronomy may have 
given Him a special interest in the book. '* When He declares the essence 
of the Law to mquirers, He invariably states it in the Deuteronomic form " 
{DCG, ii. p. 271). 

' The only reasonable form which such a Question can take is, Which was 
the order in the source which both Mt. ana Lk. used ? Mt. , as often, is 
likely to be nearer the original ; the temptation which he places last was not 
only the most severe, it was also to the deepest depth of sin. Jesus is not 
merely tempted to put the Divine Sonship to the test, but to renounce it and 
become the vassal of Satan. Hamack, 7%£ Sayings o//esus^ p. 43. 

• With * the holy city ' comp. xzvii. 53 ; Rev. zi. 2, xxi. 2, 10, xxii. 19 ; 
Is. xlviii. 2, Hi. i ; Dan. ix. 24 ; Tob. xiii 9. Lk. substitutes * Jerusalem ' ; 
so also the Gospel of the Hebrews. 


both priests and people that He was the Messiah ; and then the 
greater part of His work would be accomplished. But this 
cannot be pressed, for there is no mention of spectators. 
Nevertheless, what is the point of mentioning the Temple, 
unless those who thronged its courts are to be understood? 
Any precipice in the wilderness would have served for a 
temptation to presumptuous rushing into needless danger. But, 
in any case, there are these differences between the first 
temptation and the second. In the first, Jesus was to be freed 
by miracle from a peril which already existed, and He was to 
work the miracle Himself. In the second, He was to create a 
peril for Himself, and expect God to free Him from it by 

It is from this temptation that the proverbial saying, "The 
devil can cite Scripture for his purpose" (Merchant of Venice^ 
I. iiL) has arisen. The citation is from Ps. xcL 11, la. Mt 
omits the whole of ' to keep thee in all thy ways,' and Lk. omits 
the last four words, which are not suitable to the temptation. 
But it is perhaps giving more meaning to the omission than 
is intended, to say that throwing oneself from a height is not 
going *in one's ways,' but out of them.^ The graphic beauty of 
^upon their hands' or 'palms' (not ^in their hands,' as AV.), 
implying great carefulness, should not be missed. Our Lord 
does not stay to expose the misapplication of Scripture, any more 
than to answer the doubt about His Messiahship. He once 
more gives a quotation from Deuteronomy, perfectly simple, and 
such as holds good for any human being. In reply to the first 
temptation. He had declared His trust in God ; God would not 
let Him starve. The evil one then suggests that He should 
show His trust in God in a still stronger way. Our Lord replies 
that putting God to the test^ is not trusting Him. He is willing 
to face peril of death, when God wills that He should do so, not 
before. He is commissioned to teach His people that He is the 
Messiah ; but by winning their hearts, not by forcing them to 
believe. He did not force the Jewish hierarchy to believe in 
His Resurrection by appearing to any of them, yet n^any of them 
eventually believed (Acts vL 7). 

** He that complies against his will 
Is of his own opinion still." 

^ Yet, in any case, " under guise of an appeal to filial trust lies concealed 
a temptation to distrust " (£. D. Burton and Shailer Mathews, Constructive 
Studies in the Life of Christ, p. 59). But in His rebuke Christ raises no 
objection to the doctrine of Angelic ministry and protection. It is not there 
that the evil one's suggestion is wrong. 

' The verb in the Septuagint of Deut. vi. 16 is a strong compound 
{iiareip&t^iy) implying thorough testing, and both Mt. and Lk. reproduce it. 


The conviction that is to be permanent, and bear fruit in 
conduct, must be one in which the will and the reason can 
acquiesce with some measure of satisfaction. Man's freedom is 
destroyed, if he is surprised into a belief by some stupendous 
phenomenon ; and when the first overwhelming impression has 
passed away, the reality of the phenomenon is likely to be 
questioned. Our Lord during His Ministry worked as God 
works in history. Man's freedom is respected. He always 
refused to give a sign from heaven to His opponents. It was 
only to the most intimate of the Twelve that He granted the 
significant vision of the Transfiguration, and they were not to 
reveal it till the still greater sign of the Resurrection had been 
granted. That sign was not allowed to His enemies. He might 
easily have confounded them by appearing and teaching in the 
Temple after His Crucifixion and burial. But they had Moses 
and the Prophets, and they would not have been persuaded of 
His Messiahship even by His Resurrection. His appearances 
were reserved for chosen witnesses, who with full freedom of 
reason and will accepted them (Acts x. 40, 41).^ • 

The third temptation is the most clearly symbolical of the 
three. As already pointed out, all the kingdoms of the world 
could not be seen at once from any place.' Moreover, a literal 
falling down and worshipping of Satan cannot be meant The 
doubt about the Messiahship is not insinuated again : that He 
is the Messiah is now accepted as certain. The Messiah is to 
destroy the works of the devil, and at last become King of 
Israel and of the whole world. That means a long and painful 
contest, involving much suffering to the Messiah and His 
followers. Why not have Satan for an ally instead of an enemy? 
Then sovereignty over Israel and all the nations may be quickly 
won, without pain or trouble. With wealth, fashion, rank, 
intellect, intrigue, and force on His side, all backed by mighty 
works, success will be rapid and certain. A triumphant progress 
to supreme power, and such glory as neither Jew nor Gentile 
ever dreamed of, is offered to Him. In other words, it is 
suggested to Him that, by natural and supernatural means of 
unholy character. He can quickly establish Himself as far greater 
than Solomon, with the whole world for His empire. 

Once more our Lord gives a swift and simple answer from 
Deuteronomy (vi. 13), an answer that is absolutely decisive. He 
anticipates His own declaration, that it is impossible to serve 

* Latham, Pastor Fasiorum, p. 143. 

' Lk. omits the place, saying nothing about the * exceeding high mountain.* 
Comp. the Apocafypse of Baruch : "Go up therefore to the top of that 
mountain, and there will pass before thee all the regions of tbat land, and 
the figure of the inhabited world, and the top of the mountains, and the 
depth of the valleys, and the depths of the seas '^ (Ixxvi. 3). 


two masters (vi 24). The loyal servant of God can make no 
terms with God's enemy. The evil one is dismissed, and Angels 
come to minister. 

With the * Get thee hence, Satan ' fYirayc, Saram) here should 
be compared the stem rebuke to Peter in similar words (xvi. 23).^ 
In Peter's plausible suggestion the evil one was again tempting 
the Messiah to abandon the path of duty and suffering and take 
a short and easy course to success. The rebuke to Peter is alsc 
in Mk. (viiL 33), but the dismissal of Satan here is not in Lk. 
That is no sufficient reason for believing that the words are not 
original here, but have been imported by Mt. from xvi. 23. On 
the contrary, we may believe that Christ had already told the 
disciples as much as they could understand respecting His own 
temptations when Peter was guilty of an attempt to lead the 
Me^iah astray. Otherwise Peter could hardly have seen the 
meaning of the severe words which Christ used. Lk. quite 
naturally omits the dismissal of the tempter, because, according 
to his arrangement, there is another temptation still to come. 

Id some texts (DELMUFZ, Just. Tert.) the 'behmd Me' {iwlffu ftov) 
of xtL 23 has been imported into this passage. In the quotation from Deut. 
vi. 13 ^pifi^iffji has been changed to irpo<rKwrfyr€is owing to the preceding 
rpoffKvrfyrfp, and fUvtfi has been added after a^f to make the charge 
more emphatic In the A text of the LXX the wording of Deut vi. 13 
has been oroaght into harmony in both particulars with Mt 

' The devil leaveth Him ' (d^i/crtv avrov) means more than 
'departed from Him' (dWon; d^r* avrov, Lk.): it means Meft 
Him alone, ceased for a time to trouble Him,' or ' let Him go, 
released Him.' 

Lk. tells us that the departure of Satan was only 'until a 
convenient season ' (dxpi Kacpov). The evil one is defeated, but 
he is not destroyed, and ' the power of darkness ' (Lk. xxii. 53) 
is again to do its worst before the final victory is won. Indeed, 
the temptation to adopt a selfish, spectacular, and secular 
Messiahship was again and again put before Him during His 
Ministry (Westminster N.T. p. 46). The ministry of Angels 
here, which is in Mk. also, but not in Lk., perhaps means 
that the miracle which the Messiah refused to work without 
God's sanction now takes place with His sanction, and that the 
Angels either supply Him with food or with support which 
rendered food unnecessary.^ The Messiah returned to work 
that involved a severe strain upon His physical powers. His 

^ In zii. 26 Christ substitutes ' Satan ' for the ' Beelzebal ' of the Pharisees. 
Elsewhere He speaks of him as 6 StdpoKos (ziii. 39, xxv. 41) and 6 irovripi^ 
(xiii. 19, 38), neither of which names is found in Mk. Nor does Mk. use 
6 retpdi^vp (Mt. iv. 3). 

' For thb meaning of itaKOPtip comp. xxv. 44 ; Lk. xxii. 27 ; Jn. xii. 2 ; 
Acts vi. 2. 


human character had been strengthened by triumphant resistance 
of prolonged temptations. His human experience had been 
increased respecting the possibilities of evil (Heb. v, 8) and the 
dangers which His mission would have to encounter. And we 
may believe that He would be supplied with all the physical 
strength that His humanity required for the work that lay before 

Christ's refusal to avail Himself of supernatural aid to aveit 
the danger of perishing with hunger is parallel to His abstaining 
from asking for supernatural aid to avert the certainty of perish- 
ing on the Cross. He would not turn stones into bread, and He 
would not have legions of Angels (xxvi. 53), because in neither 
case was it His Father's will that He should do so. He knew 
that He was the Father's only Son, and He knew what His 
Father's will was. Now that throughout the strain of the 
temptations the Father's will has been absolutely triumphant, 
supernatural means of supplying physical needs are aUowed 
Him. Angels minister to Him (comp. i Kings xix. 5-9), and 
He has strength for the work which lies before Him.^ 

This is a foretaste and an earnest of the glory which is to be 
His hereafter. And it resembles that glory in being a return for 
what He had foregone in order to do that which His Father had 
decreed for Him. Satan had offered Him ' all the kingdoms of 
the world and the glory of theuL' * The Prince of this world ' 
(Jn. xiv. 30) had placed the whole of his vast dominion 
and its resources at Christ's disposal, if He would enter his 
service. That offer had been decisively rejected and the 
proposer of it had been dismissed. And, in a few years, 
all the power and glory which the evil one had offered to Him, 
and ten thousand times more which it was not in his power to 
offer, had been bestowed upon Him by His Father, because He 
had refused the tempter's conditions and had accepted suffering 
and shame and death (xxviii. 18). 'The Stronger' than Satan, 
instead of sharing power with him, deprived him of it (Lk. xi. 
21, 22); and 'the Kingdom of the world became our Lord's 
and His Anointed's, and He shall reign for ever and ever' 
(Rev. xi. 15). 

It is in the narrative of the Temptation that we have the first instances of 
our Lord's quotmg Scripture. In this Gospel He quotes thirteen of the 

^ In the description of the sixth heaven in the Testaments of the XII. 
Patriarchs we have a verbal parallel : " In it are the Archangels who 
minister and make propitiation to the Lord," or (according to other texts) 
** the host of the Angels are ministering," or " the Angels of the presence of 
the Lord who minister" {Levi iii. 5). With the narrative in Mk. i. 13, 14 
oomp. '* The devil shall flee from you, and the wild beasts shall fear you, 
and the Angels shall cleave to you " (Naphtali viii. 4). 


Canonical Books of the O.T. and makes clear reference to two other Books ; 
and there are several possible references to O.T. passages. Deuteronomy, 
Psalms* and Isaiah are most frequently quoted, and we may believe that 
they were often in our Lord's thoughts. In the following list the references 
are to the passages in Mt. in which the quotation occurs. Genesis (xix. 4, 5) ; 
Exodus (v. 21, 27, 33, 38, xix. 18, 19) ; but some of these might be referred 
to Deuteronomy : Leviticus (v. 43, xix. 19, xxii. 39) ; Numbers (v. 33) ; 
Deuteronomy (iv. 4, 7, 10, v. 31, xxii. 37, xxiv. 31); Psalms (xxii. 44, 
xxiii. 39, xxvi. 64, xxvii. 46) ; Isaiah (xiii. 14, 15, xv. 8, xxi. 13, xxiv. 7, 
10, 29, 31) ; Jeremiah (xxL 13) ; Daniel (xxiv. 15, 21, 30, xxvii. 64); Hosea 
(ix. 13, xii. 7); Micah (x. 35, 36) ; Zechariah (xxiv. 30, xxvi. 31); Malachi 
(xi. 10). The references to i Samuel (xii. 4) and Jonah (xii. 39, 41) are 
clear ; and there may be one to 2 Kings (vi. 6). The absence of any certain 
quotation from Che Sapiential Books is remarkable ; but comp. xvi. 27 with 
Prov. xxiv. 12, and xix. 26 with Job xlii. 2 ; also xii. 43 with the addition in 
the Septuagint to Prov. ix. 12. With Ecclesiasticus there are many parallels : 
t,g, vi. 7, vi. 14, vi. 20, and xix. 21 with Ecclus. vii. 14, xxviii. 2, xxix. 12 ; 
and V. 33, 34 with Ecclus. xxiii. 9-1 1. See also Ecclus. iv. 5, v. 13, vii. 
35, ix. o, X. 6, xix. 21, xxvii. 6, xxviii 3-5, and Wisd. ii. 18, iii. 7, iv. 4, 
16, xvii. 21. 



This is the main portion of the Gospel. To the end 
of xiii. the scene is chiefly in Galilee; the scene of xiv.-xviii. 
is chiefly in or near Galilee. The sources are Mark, the 
Logia of Matthew, and some independent traditions, written 
or oral. 

The Galilean section is in three divisions, i. Opening 
activities) ending nvith the Sermon on the Mount (iv. 12-vii. 29). 
2. Ten Acts of Messianic Sovereignty, ending in the charge to 
the Apostles (viii. i-x. 42). 3. Many utterances of Messianic 
Wisdom,, ending in numerous illustrations of teaching by 
parables (xi. i-ziii. 58). The remaining section constitutes a 
fourth division, consisting of activities in or near Galilee, and 
ending in the discourses on offences and forgiveness (ziv.-xviiL). 
Hence chapters v.-vii., x., xiii. and xviiL are conclusions to 
definite divisions of the Gospel, and they consist almost entirely 
of discourses. 

The long Galilean section consists of nine subdivisions. 
We begin with an historical introduction, dating from John's 
imprisonment, and placed in surroundings which are a fulfilment 
of prophecy (iv. 12-16). Then the Ministry begins with the 
call of theH&rst disciples (17-22). After a preliminary statement 
about the Messiah's teaching and work (23-25), we have copious 
illustrations, both of His teaching (v.-vii.), and also of His work 
(viii. i-ix- 34). This is followed by the mission of the Twelve 
(ix, 35-xi. i), by illustrations of the opposition which His 


ministry provoked and of His consequent isolation (xL 2-xii. 50), 
and by illustrations of His public teaching by parables and His 
private interpretations of them (xiiL 1-53). Henceforward Mt 
keeps closely to the order of Mk., and the prolonged Galilean 
section comes to an end with the tragic rejection of the Messiah 
by His own people at Nazareth (xiii. 53-58). The substance of 
all this must, in the last resort, be carried back to the testimony 
of eye-witnesses : see Klostermann on Mk. L 16. 

IV. 19-16. Fulfilment of Prophecy by the MessiaKs Appearance 

in Galilee, 

It was ^when He heard that John was delivered up ' by the 
Pharisees into the hands of Herod Antipas, that Jesus departed 
from the scene of John's activity and of the Pharisees' hostility, 
and withdrew once more to Galilee, where He made Capernaum, 
instead of His original home Nazareth (ii. 23), to be His head- 
quarters. The expression, * when He heard ' (d«coiKra«), is not 
in Mk., nor in Lk., who here arranges his material differently, 
but it is important, as illustrating a principle of our Lord's 
action which emerges from the narrative of the Temptation. 
He does not work miracles where ordinary means suffice. It 
is not by supernatural knowledge, but by common report, that 
He learns the persecution of the Baptist by the Pharisees 
(comp. xiv. 13). In both places the insertion of oKowra^ by Mt 
is the more remarkable, because his tendency is to emphasize 
the supernatural powers of the Messiah. What specially 
interests him here, is the statement in Mk. i. 14, 21, that Christ 
not merely moved to these northern regions, but had Capernaum 
as the centre of His activity, in which fact he sees a fulfilment 
of prophecy. The fulfilment which he sees is partly geographical. 
He understands the * sea ' in Is. ix. i, 2 to be the sea of Galilee ; 
and, on any hypothesis as to site,^ Capernaum was on the Lake. 
Isaiah mentions Zebulon and Naphtali ; and Capernaum was in 
the territory of these two tribes. But more important than these 
geographical coincidences is the fact that the Prophet speaks of 
< Galilee of the Gentiles ' (raXcXam rm l^oiv),' and also of ' a 
great light ' that is to shine on the inhabitants of these darkened 
regions. This, like the visit of the Magi, and perhaps the warn- 
ing uttered by the Baptist (iii. 9), is an intimation that the 
salvation brought by the Messiah to the Jews does^ot belong 
to them exclusively, but is to extend to the heathen. 

Mt once more shows his indifference to chronology. He 

* See Sanclay, Sacred Si/es, pp. 36 ff., andyjwr. cf Tk. 5/., Oct 1903. 
*Comp. raX(Xa/adXXo^i)Xfarr(i Mac. ▼. 15). 


did not tell us how soon after the Birth the visit of the Magi took 
place, nor how long the retirement in Egypt lasted, nor how long 
after the return to Palestine the appearance of the Baptist and the 
Baptism of the Messiah took place. So here we are left in doubt 
whether the interval between the Temptation and the beginning 
of the Messiah's Ministry in Galilee was one of days or of years. 
Jost as the beginning of John's preaching is given without any 
connexion with the settlement of the Holy Family at Nazareth, 
so the b^inning of Christ's preaching is ^ven without any 
connexion with the Temptation. It is the news that John had 
been handed over to his enemies, not the victory of the Messiah 
over the evil one, which leads to the settlement at Capernaum 
as a centre for preaching. 

Mt. says that Jesus ^withdrew into Galilee' (dvcxoipi/crcv), 
which does not mean that He returned thither after the Tempta- 
tion ; ^ and perhaps Mt. means that He retired to a part of the 
dominions of Antipas where He would be less likely to be 
molested by him than in the region where the Baptist had been 
working. What Mk. gives as a date, ' after John was delivered 
up,' Mt. gives as a motive, 'when He heaid that John was 
delivered up.' A possible meaning is that, as the Baptist's 
activity had been made to cease, there was all the more reason 
for the Messiah to begin to preach ; and the best centre for Him 
to choose for the purpose was the thick and mixed population 
on the west shore of the Lake. Yet it probably is not in order 
to hint at the excellence of the centre that the Evangelist 
reminds us that Capernaum was 'by the sea,' but in order to 
prepare for a detail in the prophecy which he is about to quote. 
The quotation agrees with neither the Hebrew nor the LXX, yet 
it appears to be taken from some Greek version (see Allen, ad hc.^ 
and Swete, IntroducH<m to the O.T. in Greeks p. 396) of Is. ix. i. 
As often, Mt gives quite a new meaning to the prophecy which 
he quotes. Isaiah is thinking of the devastation of Palestine by 
the Assyrians in the reign of Pekah, and he has a vision of 
deliverance from the ravagers by a ruler of the house of David. 
Then follows the great prophecy, * Unto us a child is born,' etc. 
In Mt. it is spiritual desolation (ix. 36) and a spiritual Deliverer 
(L 21) that is meant.^ 

^ (baxwf>e2r is freoueDt in Mt. , very rare in Mk. Jn. and Acts, and is not 
fonnd elsewhere in tne N.T. Here Mk. (^X^ey) and Lk. (^^trrpe^er) each 
use a different word. 

* A passage in the Testaments illustrates Mt.'s application of the prophecy 
to the Messiah's preaching of repentance : " For true repentance after a godly 
sort (rard 9€^, as 2 Cor. yii. 10) driveth away the darkness, and enlightenetn 
the eyes, and supplieth knowledge to the soul, and guideth the purpose to 
nlvation" (Gud v. 7). 'Galilee of the Gentiles' may mean 'lieathenish 


IV. 17-22, The Messiah begins to preach and He calls 

Four Disciples, 

' From that time Jesus began.' ^ The formula with which the 
Messiah's preaching to the people is here introduced is repeated 
xvi. 2 1, and is perhaps intended to suggest a comparison between 
the two occasions. There Jesus has to give a very different kind 
of teaching, not to the people, but to the Twelve : * From that 
time Jesus began ' to tell His disciples about His approaching 
Passion and Resurrection. 

The quotation of our Lord's words here illustrates Mt's 
practice of abbreviating Mk. by omitting one half of his double 
statements. Mk. condenses the substance of Christ's preaching 
thus : ' The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand : 
repent ye^ and believe in the gospel* ; a very unusual phi^ase, in 
which 'gospel' means the 'good tidings' of the nearness of the 
ELingdom of God. As Mt. has already pointed out the fulfilment 
of prophecy, the first words are not needed ; and the last words 
are implied in what precedes. 

The substance of the Messiah's first preaching is the same as 
that of His Herald : He acts, so to speak, as His own Forerunner. 
And it is because He is as yet His own Herald, that, although 
He proclaims the approach of the Kingdom, He says nothing of 
the King. But it is with regal authority that He calls His first 
disdples.' Without explanation, He gives what, even in form, 
is a command rather than an invitation : and this assumption of 
authority is not resented, but instantly obeyed. And His words 
imply that this time (contrast Jn. i. 35 ff.) it is no temporary 
invitation ; they are to give up their calling as catchers of fish, 
and pursue a new calling as fishers of men.' From what they 
had learnt of Him during the preliminary Ministry in Judsea, 
about which Mt. and Mk. are silent, these fishermen knew to 
some extent what sort of work was in store for them, and under 
what kind of Master they would have to serve. All the patience, 

^ The phrase cLr6 T6rt is rare in the N.T. (Mt. iv. 17, xvi. 21, xxvi. 16; 
Lk. xvi. 16) and in the LXX (Eccles. viii. 12 ; Ps. xciii. 2). The exact 
time cannot be determined. Colonel Mackinlay ai^es for a.d. 25 {The 
Magif p. 63). As he accepts a.d. 29 as the year of the Crucifixion, this 
involves a ministry of three years and a half, which has its difficulties. 

' Tliey had previously been disciples of the Baptist, and through him had 
come to know Jesus. When the Baptist was put in prison, Jesus calls them 
to become His disciples. It is the Fourth Gospel that enlightens us on this 
point (Jn. i. 35-42). Here, contrary to the usage of each, Mt has the 
historic present (19), and Mk. the aorist (i. 17). 

' C^ould, on Mk. L 17, points out that this is the first instance of parabolic 
language, so common in (Christ's teaching afterwards. The Baptist had used 
harvest-work (iii. 12), as Jesus Himself does later (ix. 37, 38), to signify the 
gathering in of souls. 

nr.d8-d6] the ministry in galilee 4$ 

perseverance, and courage which they had acquired in their 
uncertain and dangerous craft on the lake would be required, 
and they would have to sacrifice their home and their means of 
life. But neither pair of brothers hesitates, and each of the four 
has the happiness of taking a brother with him. Apparently, 
Simon and Andrew leave their net in the lake, without waitmg 
to draw it in. Their readiness is even more marked than that of 
the sons of Zebedee, for they seem to have had no one to leave 
in charge of the nets (and boat?) which were their means of 
subsistence. Mt. is anxious to mark the readiness in both pairs 
of brothers. Very often he omits the 'straightway' (cv^eW) 
which is so frequent in Mk. (iv. i, viii. 4, 14, ix. 4, 7, xii. 4; 
comp. Mk. i. 12, 29, 43, ii. 8, 12, iii. 6, etc.). But here he retains 
it in both places, and in the second case he transfers it from the 
Messiah's call to the disciples' obedience; for he desires to 
emphasize the fact that at the outset the Messiah's authority was 
at once loyally recognized. These followers are worthy subjects 
of the King. 

Mt. does not mean that Simon on this occasion received the name of Peter 
(iS), but that Simon is the same disciple who was afterwards famous as Peter ; 
comp. X. 2. Of the Evangelists, John is the only one who gives the Aramaic 
origmal Cephas (i. 42), which S. Paul frequently uses in i Cor. and Gal. 
Whether the (&n^ip\rj<rrpov v/}dcli he and Andrew left differed from the 
ffay^ni in the parable (xiii. 47) is uncertain ; neither word occurs else- 
where in the N.T. In deGre (6 times in Mt. and 6 elsewhere) and iKeWcv 
(12 times in Mt. and 15 elsewhere) we have words of which Mt seems to be 

The position which Mt. gives to the call of the four disciples 
indicates that a new stage has been quickly reached in the 
Messiah's ministry. He is surrounded, not merely, as John was, 
by a multitude of casual and constantly changing hearers, but by 
a select number of constant followers. It was with these professed 
disciples that He went up and down Galilee, teaching in the 
synagogues and healing the sick. This was part of their training 
for taking up and continuing His work. 

IV. d8-25. Preliminary Summary of the Work, 

The Evangelist here leaves the narrative of Mk. to give an 
introductory epitome of the Ministry which he is about to illus- 
trate in detail. He begins the description with a simple ' And ' 
{koC^j the first instance of this use in this Gospel. He tells us 
tha^ unlike the Forerunner, who required the people to come to 
him in the wilderness, the Messiah sought them; He 'went 
about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues.' Not many 
of these Galileans had been out to listen to John ; none are 
mentioned in iii. 5. They are still a 'people sitting in darkness ' 



(i6). But the general result of the Messiah's first appearance 
among them is in harmony with the happy beginning in calling 
the two pairs of brothers. There is no mention of any opposition. 
He brought to His fellow-countrymen much the same message 
as the Baptist (17, iiL 2); but it is probable that, whereas John 
emphasized the coming of judgment, Jesus dwelt rather upon the 
coming of deliverance and of joy. It is 'the Gospel of the 
Kingdom ' which He preaches to them, a remarkable expression,^ 
and peculiar to Mt (23, ix. 35, xxiv. 14), for which Mk. has ' the 
Gospel of God ' (i. 14). Both exhorted men to repent, and both 
announced that the Kingdom was at hand; but while John said 
most about the forsaking of sin, the Messiah said most about 
' the good tidings.' 

M a Healer the Messiah is everywhere popular, and His fame 
spreads widely, even into heathen territory. 'All Syria' and the 
country * beyond Jordan ' are excited about the reports of His 
work, and every kind of sickness is brought to Him to be cured. 
The Evangelist seems to delight in enlarging upon the vast 
amount of the healings and the great variety of them. He 
strings together, from several places in Mk. (u 28, 32, 34, iii. 7, 8, 
V. 24), the different items of the Messiah's success. Possibly 
Deut. vii. 15 is in his mind : 'The Lord will take away from thee 
all sickness (iracrav /juxXoKiay), and He will put none of the evil 
diseases (iracras voo-ovs) of Egypt upon thee.'' Comp. the 
Testament of Joseph xvii. 7. But it was not the case that ' the 
people ' tolerated the teaching for the sake of the cures. The 
preaching of the good news of the Kingdom came first, and the 
miracles were secondary. Many followed Him who neither 
required healing themselves nor brought sick friends to be 
healed. To all, whether sick or whole, the good tidings of the 
Kingdom proved attractive. Even the stern preaching of John 
had drawn multitudes into the wilderness, although he 'did no 
sign' (Jn. X. 41). Comp. ix. 35, where this verse is repeated 
almost verbatim^ but without ' among the people,' which means 
among the Jews in Galilee. 'The whole of Syria,' with its 
heathen population (24), is in manifest contrast to Galilee with 
its Jewish population. 

It is notable that 'the good tidings' (rd cvayycAtov) is first 
used in the N.T. of the preaching of Christ. John's preaching 
might have been called 'good tidings^' but (with one indirect 
exception in Lk. iii. 18) it is not. Perhaps the note of judgment 

^ It is here that the important word d/aTyAcoy first appears in Mt. It 
originally meant the reward for good tidings (2 Sam. iv. 10), but afterwards 
always the good tidings themselves. See Dalnun, Words of Jesus ^ p. 102; 
Hastings' DCG.^ art. * Gospel.' 

' In the N.T., Mt. alone uses ^toXairCa (iv. 23, is. 35, x. i). Of course 
' all Syria ' is used in a loose sense. 


— the axe, the winnowing fan, the fire — was too strong for his 
message to win that gracious name. After the Messiah had 
encountered more and more of the hypocrisy and hostility of the 
hierarchy, His preaching became sterner even than John's ; but 
here, at the outset, there is no record of any word of condemna- 
tion or warning. The exhortation to repentance seems to have 
been so readily heard, and the invitation to believe the good 
tidings to have been so generally accepted, that He was able to 
do many mighty works. Even those who were brought from 
Syria were healed. But this concourse is represented as less 
continuous (aorists) than His own activity in Galilee (ircpt^cv). 

" It may be doubted whether we have an adequate notion of 
the immense number of Christ's miracles. Those recorded are 
but a small proportion of those done. These early ones were 
illustrations of the nature of His Kingdom. They were His 
first gifts to His subjects." ^ 

"The healing ministry, judged by critical tests, stands on as 
firm historical ground as ^e best accredited parts of the teaching. 
In most of the reports the action of Jesus is so interwoven with 
unmistakable authentic words that the two elements camiot be 
separated That the healing ministry was a great outstanding 
fact, is attested by the popularity of Jesus, and by the various 
theories which were invented to account for the remarkable 
phenomena." ^ Hamack and Professor Gardner both admit that 
wonderful works of healing are too closely woven with the 
narrative to be torn from it : there is an irreducible minimum. 
Why should the Pharisees accuse Him of being the ally of 
Beelzebub, or Antipas suggest that He was the Baptist come to 
life again, or Celsus declare that He had brought charms back 
firom Egypt, if there were no mighty works to be accounted for ? 
"The healing activity of Jesus is firmly established in the 
tradition " (O. Holtzmann). 

Many critics at the present day limit the mighty works to acts 
of healing, and limit the acts of healing to those '^ which even at 
the present day physicians are able to effect by psychical 
methods, — ^as, more especially, cures of mental maladies" 
(Schmiedel). They were "acts of faith-healing on a mighty 
scale " (E. A. Abbott). " Physicians tell us that people can be 
cured by suggestion; the term describes what has often been 
observed precisely in a quarter in which religious enthusiasm has 
been stirred " (O. Holtzmann). 

But do the records give any intimation that Jesus Himself 
was conscious that His power to do mighty works was confined 

* A. Maclaren, ad loc. 

^£fu. BM' u< 2445. See Sanday, Outlines of th$ Life of Christ , pp. 

^ I 


to works of healing? Did His disciples notice any such limi- 
tation? Did His enemies ever taunt Him with the &ct that, 
while Moses and the Prophets did all kinds of miracles. He 
could do nothing but heal? No evidence tending in this 
direction can be produced. On the other hand, there is 
considerable evidence that He was believed to be able to do 
many other mighty works. 

Again, when we confine our attention to the acts of healing, 
do the records confirm the view that these acts were confined to 
curing neurotic patients by strong mental impressions ? ^ Let us 
suppose that our Lord worked some striking cures by means of 
** moral therapeutics " ; which is not improbable, for He would 
not use supernatural power where ordinary means would suffice. 
Let us suppose that all His first miracles were of this character. 
The result, we are told, would be that He would get the reputa- 
tion of being able to perform all kinds of wonders, and in time 
they would be attributed to Him by tradition. Very possibly ; 
but there would be another result much more certain. In 
consequence of His first successes, multitudes of sick would 
be brought to Him who could not be cured by "psychical 
methods'' or "suggestions," or "moral therapeutics"; and 
therefore many would be sent away uncured. Where is the 
record of these mournful disappointments ? It is suggested that 
there were no actual failures to heal, because He may have 
known by "a kind of instinct," or by "experience and some 
kind of intuition," what cases He could not cure ; and therefore 
He did not attempt to cure such. Yet such a remarkable 
limitation of His healing activity must have made an impression 
which would affect traditions respecting Him. And is "a kind 
of instinct " a scientific hypothesis ? Even if we omit the Fourth 
Gospel, the reported cases are too numerous and too varied to 
be explained by faith-healing. It is incredible that all the sick 
laid in the streets were neurotic patients; and are leprosy, 
dropsy, fever, withered hand, issue of blood, and blindness 
" susceptible of emotional cure " ? Just so far as a disease is 
due to delusion or lack of faith, is it possible to expel it by 
faith-healing ; and the number of maladies which admit of such 
treatment is comparatively small.^ 

Of course, the mighty works, whether of Christ or of His 
disciples, are not violations of law. Violations of law do not 

^ But " it would 1)e rash to assert that this is the whole secret in any case " 
(Hastings' DB., art ' Miracles,' iii. p. 390). 

* See a valuable paper on * The Neurotic Theory of the Miracles of 
Healing/ by R. J. Ryle, M.A., M.D., in the hibbert Journal ^ Apr. 1907, 
pp. 572-586. The dieory that many of the cures wrought by Christ, like 
many of those wrought at Lourdes, were only temporary, is entirely devoid of 
evidence. See Bruce, The Training of the Twelve^ p. 49. 


occur in God's ordered universe. But we do not yet know the 
laws by which these mighty works become possible. Still less do 
we know the laws of such an unique Personality as that of the 
Messiah; and we are not in a position to decide what was 
possible and what was impossible for Him in dealing with mind 
and matter. The evidence for the mighty works is not only 
strong but stringent; and the case for them stands, until the 
evidence can be explained upon any other hypothesis than that 
the substance of the evidence is true. 

The chief characteristics in ch. iv. are t6t€ (i, 5, 10, 11), Hffrepw {2), 
rpOffipX'fff^oA (3, II), TpoffKWciy (9, lo), koI Idoii (li), dj^axo*p«iy (12), tpa 
rX^puei (14), \ey6fuwos (18), dem (19), ^jcet^ei' (21), Tpoatpip^iv (24). The 
foUowing arc peculiar to Mt. : rh l»iOiv (14), ^ pacCkela r(a» oOpayQp (17), r6 
dlayyAior Tijs patriKelas (23), /uiKaKUi (23). Of the above, the following are 
absent from the parallel passages: rpoa4pxf<r$<u (3, ii), rdre (5), xal Idoi^ 
(ii)y dwixwpe& (12), \€y6/iepos (18), ixtWa^ (21). The paragraph 23-25 has 
no paraUeL The word rapaOakdanos occurs nowhere else in the N.T. 

V. VL Vn. Illusirations of the MeisiaKs Teaching, 
The Sermon on the Mount 

The concluding verse of ch. iv. is given partly as the end of 
the summary of the Messiah's Ministry, partly as an introduction 
to the Sermon. One result of His Ministry was that 'great 
multitudes ' {o^(koi voXXoL : ^ Mk. nearly always has o^koi iroXXos) 
followed Him, coming from long distances. These multitudes 
constituted a large audience for His teaching ; and forthwith the 
Evangelist gives us abundant evidence of what the teaching was 
like. He evidently regards the teaching as of more importance 
than the healing. In the summary he mentions the teaching 
first ; and here he gives us details about that before giving us 
details about the mighty works.^ Mk. just mentions the astonish- 
ment produced by the teaching (i. 22, 23), and then passes to 
the details of healing ; and it was probably the small amount of 
the Lord's teaching contained in his Gospel, as compared with 
Mt, which caused the latter to take the first place, although that 
of Mk. was first in the field. Indeed there is some reason for 
thinking that, at a very early period of its existence, the Gospel 
of Mk. was in danger of perishing altogether; as it is, its con- 
cluding portion has perished (Burkitt, The Gospel History and its 
Transmission^ p. 261) ; and the other document used by Mt and 
Lk. (Q) has perished. See Stanton, pp. 76 f. 

' It 18 a favourite expression with Mt (iv. 25, viii. i, 18, xiii. 2, zv. 30, 

ziz. 2). 

'This is in accordance with Christ's own estimate of the comparative 
value of His words and His works : His words ought to suffice without the 
works, but He gives both (Jn. x. 38, xiv. il). 


Mt. again omits all indications of date ; but it is obviously 
incorrect to say that he places the Sermon at the beginning of 
the Ministry. There are two proofs that he does not. First, 
* the multitudes * in v. i clearly refers to the * great multitudes ' 
in the previous verse ; and these great multitudes did not gather 
until our Lord had been at work for some time and the report 
of Him had spread through Syria, Persea, Judaea, etc. Secondly, 
the teaching in the Sermon is not elementary; it is evidently 
intended for those who had already received a good deal of 

The place at which the Sermon was delivered is almost as 
vague as the date : ' He went up into the mountain.' But no 
mountain has been mentioned. As in xiv. 33 and xv. 29, high 
ground in the neighbourhood of the lake is no doubt meant. ^ 
The concourse was so great that the shore of the lake was no 
longer a convenient place for giving instruction, and our Lord 
goes up to one of the terraces on the hills above the lake. It is 
possible that there was some one spot to which He so often went 
up with His disciples that they commonly spoke of it as ^tJu 
mountain ' (ro 2pos), and that tlus domestic name for a particular 
place survives in the Gospels (Mk. iii. 13, vi. 46; Lk. vL 12; 
Jn. vi. 3, 15). The mention of this going up to the high ground 
above the lake lets us know that we are passing from the general 
sketch in iv. 23-25 to a definite occasion. At the same time 
there is some intimation that not all of it was delivered at one 
and the same time, for some of it is as clearly addressed to the 
Apostles (13-16) as ot^er parts are to a larger circle of disciples ; 
and both classes of hearers are mentioned (v. i, vii. 28). That 
our Lord sat down ^ would intimate that He was about to give 
instruction for some time ^xiii. 2, xxvi. 55 ; Mk. xiii. 3). The 
solemn introduction, ''opened His mouth and taught," points 
in the same direction (comp. Acts viii. 35, x. 34; Job iii. i). 
This is the first mention of ' His disciples,' which in this Gospel 
commonly means disciples in the stricter sense. 

The critical questions connected with the form in which the 
Sermon has come down to us need not detain us long. They 
cannot be discussed without consideration of the similar, but 
much shorter, report of a discourse in Lk. (vi. 20-49); and 
ample materials for forming reasonable conclusions respecting 
them will be found in Bible Dictionaries, commentaries, and 

^ It is strange that any ' simple brethren ' should have supposed, as 
Jerome states, that the Mount of Olives is meant ; and Tabor is not very 

' Sitting was the common attitude (Lk. iv. 20 ; Acts xvi. 13), standing 
the exception (Acts ii. 14, xiii. 16). Excitement or intense earnestness would 
make standing more natural at times. On the solemn introduction see Ix)isy, 
L$ Discours sur h AUntagnef p. 1 3. 


separate treatises.^ It is not of great importance to determine 
whether Mt. and Lk. give us divergent reports of one and the 
same discourse, which is the opinion held by most scholars ; or 
of two similar but different discourses, addressed to different 
audiences on different occasions, which is a tenable view, still 
advocated by some. Neither view is free from difficulty. That 
a sermon closely resembling these two reports was actually 
delivered by our Lord, need not be doubted for a moment : 
the contents are quite beyond the power of any Evangelist to 
invent, and the evidence for the Lord's utterance of this teach- 
ing is satisfactory. But study of the two reports will convince 
us that neither of them is an exact reproduction of what was 
actually said. This is at once evident, if they are supposed to 
be reports of the same discourse; and this conclusion cannot 
be escaped by adopting the theory of two original discourses, 
(i) No one, however greatly impressed, would be likely to 
remember every word Uiat had been said. (2) What was re- 
membered was not at once written down. (3) Either before or 
after it was written down it was translated from Aramaic into 
Greek; and translations of both kinds probably existed, some 
made from Aramaic oral tradition, some from Aramaic docu- 
ments. We may believe that both Mt. and Lk. had the sermon 
in Greek in a written form, but by no means the same written 
form. (4) It is evident that, although both reports are probably 
much shorter than the original sermon or sermons, yet in some 
particulars they have been enlarged. Lk. to some extent, and 
Mt. to a still greater extent, has added to the original discourse 
some sayings, which, although they were certainly spoken by 
Christ, were not spoken in that particular connexion. The 
most certain instance of this in Mt. is the Lord's Prayer and its 
immediate context (vi. 7-15). But v. 25, 26, 31, 32, vii. 6-11, 
22, 23 may also be suspected of having been added by com- 
pilation, and this for two reasons : (a) because there is a want 
of connexion with the main subject ; and (d) because a good deal 
of this material is found in Lk. in quite a different setting ; e.g. 
v. 25, 26 = Lk. xii. 58, 59, V. 32a:Lk. xvi. 18, vii. 7-ii=Lk. xi. 
9-13, vii. 23 = Lk. xiii. 27. Neither of these reasons is con- 
clusive; for the apparent want of connexion may be due to 
abbreviation; and it is quite possible that our Lord may in 
some cases have included in a sermon what had been said on 
some special occasion, or may have repeated on some special 
occasion what had been said in a sermon. Nevertheless, the 

' See especially Hastings* DB, v., art. 'Sermon on the Mount' ; /n/er^ 
mUUnal Critual Comm. on S. Matthew and on S, Luke\ C. Gore, Tlu 
Sermon on the Mounts 1896; Hase, Geschuhte fesu, § ^j; DCQ.^ art, 
'3^nnon op t|ie Mount* ' 


two reasons together make a strong argument.^ It is generally 
agreed that the Sermon on the Mount, as we have it in Mt, is 
to some extent the result of compilation. The theory, however, 
that it is entirely made up of short utterances cannot be sustained. 
Antecedently, the theory is not probable, and the facts do not 
bear it out. There is too much order in the report as a whole, 
and too much coherence in the parts, — especially when the less 
relevant sections are set aside as probable interpolations, — ^for 
the supposition that we have here nothing more than a number 
of pearls on a string. Could anything so orderly and coherent 
be constructed out of short extracts from the Epistles of St. Paul ? 
And what difficulty is there in the supposition that the main 
portion of the sermon is a substantially true report of a sustained 
discourse, addressed to a Galilean audience about the middle 
of the Galilean Ministry? And there is nothing improbable in 
the theory of two similar sermons. 

It 18 a matter of no moment whether the insertion of extraneous matter, 
SQch as the Lord's Praver, was made by the Evangelist, or had bc«n previously 
made in the report which he used. It is of equally little moment whether 
the immense abbreviation in Lk., if he reports the same sermon, is due to 
himself or his source. Mt. has 107 verses, Lk. 29 ; and of Lie's 29 all 
but six have a parallel in Mt. But 36 verses in Mt., thoueh they have no 
parallels in Lk.'s report of the sermon, have parallels in other parts of Lk. 
And more than 40 verses in Mt. have no parallels in Lk. Thus nearly half 
of the report in Mt. is peculiar to that Gospel. 

The parallels exhibit great variety in degrees of similarity of wording. 
Sometimes the two passages art almost verbatim the same ; e.g, Mt. vti. 
3-5=:Lk. vL 41-42. Sometimes the differences are very considerable, as 
in the parable with which each report ends. Even the Golden Rule is 
differently worded (Mt. vii. i2=Lk. vi. 31). And examination of the 
parallels wiU lead us to the conclusion that the report in ML is closer to 
the original sermon, if the same sermon is the basis of both reports. The 
much greater fulness of Mt.'s report points in the same direction. Jewish 
phrases, and allusions to the Old Testament, abound in Mt, but are absent 
from Lk. ; and it is much more likely that Lk., or the Gentile source whidi 
he used, omitted these topics and touches, as lacking interest for Gentile 
Christians, than that Mt. inserted them in order to please Jewish readers. 
Whether there was one sermon or two, our Lord's audience would consist 
mainly of Jews, and it is highly probable that the discourse delivered by Him 
had a great dad of the Jewish tone which pervades Mt's report. Critics, 
however, are not agreed as to the comparative accuracy of the two reports : 
some regard Lk.'s as nearer to the original sermon, but more prefer tnat of 
Mt "In all these cases it is simply inconceivable that S. Matthew had 
before him, and has altered, the text presented in S. Luke" (Hamack, T%g 
Sayings of Jesus, p. 57). 

^ Perhaps we may add to them the improbability that our Lord would 
have given to large an amount of instruction all at once. Even the most 
advanced among His hearers could hardly take in so much of such lofty 
teaching at one and the same time. Augustine suggests that the circum- 
locution, ' He opened His mouth and taught them/ is perhaps meant by the 
Evangelist to indicate aliquanto iongiorem futurum este serm^nem {De Serm* 
Ppm^ \» i* a). 


There are two assumptions which are rather frequently made, 
and which are almost certainly untrue and misleading: (i) that 
each Evangelist, as a rule, tells us all that he knew, and that, 
therefore, nearly all that he omits was unknown to him ; (2) that 
cor Lord seldom repeated His sayings, and that, therefore, 
similar but different reports of His words in different Gospels 
must be referred to the same occasion. 

All these questions, interesting as they are, sink into in- 
significance as compared with the supreme importance of under- 
standing, and appropriatmg, the meaning of these reports of our 
Lord's teaching, which have been preserved for the spiritual 
instruction of mankind. 

The general plan of the Sermon in both Gospels is the same. 
I. The Qualifications of those who can enter the Kingdom 
(v. 3-16 = Lk. vi. 20-26); 2. The Duties of those who have 
entered the Kingdom (v. 17-viL i2 = Lk. vi. 27-45); 3. The 
Judgments which await the Members of the Kingdom (vii. 
1 3-2 7 = Lk. vL 46-49). Invitation, requirement, warning ; — these 
are the three leading thoughts ; and, as Stier remarks, the course 
of all preaching is herein reflected. 

In somewhat different words, we may say that the subject of 
the Sermon is The Ideal Christian Lifey which is described in the 
Beatitudes (3-12) and the two metaphors which follow them 
(13-16).^ Then the characteristics of the Christian Life are dis- 
cussed, first in contrast to the Jewish Ideal (17-48), secondly in 
contrast to faulty Jewish practice (vi. 1-18), and finally in their 
own working (vi. 19-vii. 12), the climax being the statement of the 
Golden Rule (vii. 12). Lastly, there is an earnest exhortation 
to enter upon this Christian Life (vii. 13, 14), avoiding un- 
trustworthy guides (15-20) and profession without performance 
(21-23): the responsibility of rejecting this teaching will be 
great (24-27). The central portion of the discourse (vi. 19-vii. 
12) consists of three prohibitions and two commands. The 
prohibitions are (i) lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the 
earth; (2) Judge not; and (3) Give hot that which is holy to the 
dogs. The commands are (i) Pray to your Father in Heaven ; 
(2) Love your neighbour as yourself. 

V. 8-ld. The Beatitudes^ a Summary of the Christian Life, 

By ' the Beatitudes ' is almost always meant the declarations 
of blessedness made by Christ at the beginning of the Sermon 
on the Mount, — blessedness which He attached to certain virtues, 
or conditions, or persons. And this blessedness is not some- 

' MaUhieu apensi icrire un iraiti compUt ds la Justice ckrHienne (Loisy, 
I4 DUcours sur h M(mtagmt 2). 


thing which the persons who are thus described feel\ it is a 
property unerringly ascribed to them in the estimate of God. 
Thus it comes to pass that, while the Law is represented as 
having been given on Mount Sinai amidst thunders and 
threatenings, the Magna Carta of the Gospel is introduced on 
' the Mountain ' in Galilee with a series of new blessings. 

It is remarkable that there is wide difference of opinion as to 
the exact number of these beatitudes. They are differently 
reckoned as being seven, eight, nine, and even ten in number. 
In Lk. there is no question about ^e number : there we have 
four Beatitudes and four Woes,^ That is perhaps some indica- 
tion that the Sermon began with eight aphorisms of some kind, 
and is in favour of the common reckoning that Mt gives us 
eight Beatitudes. But the question is merely one of arrange- 
ment ; no one need propose to strike out one or more of the 
sayings as unauthentic. From different points of view Mt. 
might wish to have seven (the sacred number), or eight (sym- 
bolical of completeness), or nine (three triplets), or ten (to equal 
the Decalogue). All commentators agree that in verses 3-9 
we have seven Beatitudes summing up the ideal of a Christian 
character. Then comes a declaration that those who are 
persecuted for possessing this character are blessed; and it is 
probable that this is intended as a distinct Beatitude. It is a 
very blessed thing to possess the ideal character ; but he who 
has to suffer for his righteousness is still more blessed. That 
this should be regarded as an eighth Beatitude is confirmed by 
the fact that it is included in the four in Lk. Lk. omits those 
respecting the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the 
peacemakers, but he includes this one respecting the persecuted. 
Nevertheless, some refuse to recognize this as an eighth Beati- 
tude: (i) because the blessedness does not depend upon the 
internal conditions which are in the Christian's own control, but 
upon the way in which other people treat him ; and (2) because 
the result is a mere repetition of what has been already pro- 
mised, — * theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' * 

There is much less to be said for regarding as a separate 
Beatitude, 'Blessed are ye when men shidl persecute you . . . 
for My sake' (11). It is true that the word 'Blessed^ is 
repeated; but what follows is a mere application of the pte- 

^ The wide difference as to the wording of the Beatitudes, and the inser- 
tion of the Woes, are among the chief arguments for the hypothesis that LV<. 
gives a report of a different sermon. See Stanton, pp. zo6, 323, 328. ' 

' In &e Testaments of pie XIL Patriarchs the cheerful endurance o.t 
persecution is enjoined, because anger is so disturbing to the soul. " If ye 
suffer loss voluntarily or involuntarily, be not vexed, for from vexation ariseth 
wrath . . . and when the soul is continually disturbed, the Lord departeth) 
from it, and Beliar rulcth over it ** (Z>a« iv. 7). j 


ceding Beatitude to the disciples who are present, together with 
%n amplification of the word 'persecute/ The psalm-like 
parallelism and rhythm of the preceding eight is here wanting, 
and we seem to be in the region of interpretation rather than of 
text It is true that the equivalent of this saying is certainly 
counted as one of the four Beatitudes in Lk., but that is because 
he puts all the Beatitudes in the second person : ' Blessed are 
ye.' Consequently, what is here given in two forms, one general, 
and one special {^Blessed are they which are persecuted,' and 
' Blessed are ye when men shall persecute you *), is in Lk. given 
only in the latter, to harmonize with the other three, which are 
in the special or second person form. 

It is altogether unreasonable to regard 'Rejoice and be 
exceeding glad . . . before you ' as a Beatitude in any sense. 
The word 'blessed' is not used, and the verse is only the 
complement of the one which precedes. Only when we put 
the two verses together do we get the right correspondence of 
parts, a correspondence which is obscured by amplification. 
The foundation of the whole is, ' Blessed are ye when men shall 
persecute you for My sake, for great is your reward in heaven.' 
The remainder, though probably original, is explanatory. There 
is, in short, no indication that Mt. intended to make ten Beatitudes. 
His report of the Sermon, as has been pointed out, is partly the 
result of compilation. Had he wished to give ten Beatitudes he 
might easily have included other sayings, similar in type, which 
he records elsewhere. 'Blessed are your eyes, for tfiey see; 
and your ears, for they hear' (xiii. 16). 'Blessed art thou, 
Simon Bar-jona ; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto 
thee, but My Father which is in heaven ' (xvi. 1 7). ' Blessed is 
he, whosoever shall find none occasion of stumbling in Me' 
(xL 6). 'Blessed is that servant, whom the Lord when He 
cometh shall find watching' (xxiv. 46). And there are others 
elsewhere, which may have been known to Mt. 'Blessed are 
they that hear the word of God and keep it' (Lk. xi. 28). 
'Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed' 
(Jn. XX. 29). The frequency of such sayings among Christ's 
utterances shows that, whereas warnings of judgment were 
prominent in John's teaching, assurances of blessedness must 
have been very prominent in that of the Messiah. 

Here again perhaps we have a reason for the fact that the 
First Gospel was so much more popular than the Second. Mt. 
contains thirteen Beatitudes ; in Mk. there are none. It is the 
HelM«w Gospel at the beginning of the N.T., and the Hebrew 
Apocalj^pse at the end of it, 'which are so rich in such things 
(Rev. i. 3, xiv. 13, xvi. 15, xix. 9, xx. 6, xxii. 7, 14). 

It is not irreverent to conjecture that our Xx)rd may have 


had the beginning of the Book of Psalms in His mind, when He 
placed these Beatitudes, whether four or eight, at the beginning 
of the Sermon. 'Blessed is the man that mlketh not in the 
counsel of the wicked, but his delight is in the law of the Lord. 
He shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that 
bringeth forth its fruit in its season ' (Ps. L 1-3). If so, then 
we have the counterpart of the Woes as well as of the Beati- 
tudes ; for the Psalm goes on : ' Not so are the wicked, not so ; 
but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore 
the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the 
congregation of the righteous.' This is perhaps some slight 
support to the authenticity of the Woes. 

The Acta Pauli et TTUcla contains a large number of Beatitudes made up 
of scriptural language : e.g. Blessed are those who have kept their fltth pure, 
for they shall become temples of God. Blessed are the continent, for God 
will speak to them. Blessed are those who have bid fiurewell to this world, 
for they shall be well-pleasing to God. Blessed are those who have wives as 
not having them, for they shall become Angels of God. Blessed are those 
who have received the wisdom of Jesus Christ, for they shall be called sons of 
the Highest. See Resch, Agrapha, 2nd ed. 1906, pp. 272-4. 

There is yet another way of treating this pordon of the Sermon ; " not as 
a string of eight Beatitudes, but as a single Beatitude with a sevenfold expan- 
sion. The significance of ' poor in spirit ' must be looked for in the seven 
applications into which it is expanded'' (Moulton, The Modem Reader's 
Bible t p. 1692). This is attractive, and it is possible to regard some of the 
Beatitudes as expansions, or other sides of, the blessedness of being poor in 
spirit. But can 'hungering and thirsting after righteousness/ or being 
'merciful,' or 'peacemakers,' be said to be included in the idea of being 
' poor in spirit ' ? It is better to regard ' Blessed are the poor in spirit ' as 
the leading Beadtude, marking at once the contrast between the standard to 
be observed in the Kingdom of heaven and the standard commonly observed 
in the world, rather than as one which virtuaUy includes all the others. If 
the number seven is to be found in the Beatitudes, we must regard the first 
seven as distinct from all that follows, in that they are concerned with a 
man's own character, while the rest b concerned with the way in which he is 
treated by others for being of this character. The RV. seems to £eivour the 
view that there are seven Beatitudes, whereas the WH. text indicates that 
there are nine. 

The attempt ot Augustine {De Serm. Dom, in Mont* L) to fit the seven 
Beatitudes to the seven gifts of the Spirit is very forced : tUnor Domini^ 
pauperes; pietas^ mites ; saptentia, lugentes ; fortitudOy qui esuriunt et 
sitiunt : consilium, misericordes ; intellectus, mundocorde; scientia, pacifici. 
See the Vulgate of Is. xi. 2, 3 and of Mt. v. 3-9. 

Adopting the common enumeration of eight Beatitudes, 
which is certainly as old as St Ambrose {De Offic. L 6), and 
which renders the comparison of them to a peal of ''sweet bells " 
a happy one, we may notice these points respecting them. 

(i) There is no logical order in their arrangement, except 
that the one which depends, not on the Christian himself, but on 
the way he is treated by others, comes last The first seven 
cannot be arranged in logical or chronological order. In some 


texts the second and third Beatitudes change places, and this 
arrangement is as early as the second century,^ and Lk. places 
the fourth before the second. 

(a) They do not describe eight different classes of people, 
bat eight different elements of excellence which may all be 
combined in one individual, who may acquire them in any order, 
or simultaneously. The poor in spirit are certain to be meek ; 
those who are merciful are likely to be peacemakers ; those who 
hanger and thirst after righteousness are likely to be pure in 
heart ; and those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake will 
mourn with the mourning that is sure to be comforted. In 
other words, the Beatitudes are an analysis of perfect spiritual 
well-being, a summary of what is best in the felicity which is 
attainable by man. There is nothing like them, either in depth 
of insight or in definiteness of meaning, in either Jewish or 
Gentile philosophy. The word (cv8ac/uu>via) by which Plato and 
Aristotle express the highest well-being of man does not occur in 
them or anywhere in the N.T. ; and to Greek philosophers the 
sentences in which the Messiah sets before the world the 
elements of the highest well-being would have seemed like a 
series of paradoxes. They would have regarded the Propounder 
of them as Bitrw Sia^vXarraiv, — adopting an extravagant position 
for the sake of provoking argument. And they are, as S. 
Ambrose says, eight paradoxes; for, according to the Divine 
judgment, blessedness begins where man deems that misery 
begins. See Montefiore, p. 485. 

We can hardly measure the surprise with which Christ's 
audience listened to these Beatitudes. With some it would be 
the surprise of admiration and sympathy ; here once more was 
the voice of One who taught with authority. With others it 
would be. the surprise of incredulity ; this was indeed interesting 
doctrine, but it was not very likely to prove true. With others 
it would be the surprise of repugnance ; teaching so subversive 
of ordinary ideas respecting human felicity could not be accepted, 
and ought to be strenuously opposed. Among the conditions of 
blessedness, the privil^es of the children of Abraham were not 
80 much as mentioned. It was not the form of the Beatitudes 

^ I>» 33> Old Latin, Curetonian Syriac, Tertullian, Origen. The wish to 
mark the contrast between ' the Kingdom of Heaven ' and ' the earth ' may 
have helped to cause the transposition. 

Some Fathers, and some modems, try to make a natural sequence in the 
Beatitudes, but take them in any order, and the result woiUd be as true as 
this: " Poverty of spirit disposes to meekness, and meekness to mourning, 
and mourning or compunction to hungering after righteousness. Thirsting 
after righteousness disposes to mercy, mercy to purity of heart, purity of heart 
to the promotion of peace ; and the promotion of peace provokes the hatred 
of the depraved." 


which they disliked; that was familiar to them from the Psalms 
(i. I, ii. 12, xxxii. i, 2, xxxiii. 12, xl. 4, Ixv. 4, etc.); but how 
different was the substance ! ' Blessed is he that considereth the 
poor' (Ps. xll. i); this they could understand. But 'Blessed 
are the poor ' was strange doctrine indeed. 

The Beatitudes may be regarded as setting forth the subject 
of the whole Sermon. The Sermon treats of the character and 
conduct of members of the Messiah's Kingdom, and at the 
outset we have the required character sketched in a few expressive 
touches. And the sketching of this character acts as a test : it 
turns back those who have no sympathy with such a character. 
It also acts as a corrective of false ideas about the Kingdom. 
The ideas of the multitude were for the most part vague ; and in 
their want of knowledge they degraded and materialized it 
They thought of the Kingdom as a perpetual banquet. The ideas 
of the upper classes were more definite, but not more spiritual 
They thought of it as a political revolution. Roman rule was to 
be overthrown, and a Jewish monarchy of great magnificence 
was to be restored. To both these conceptions of the Kingdom 
the Beatitudes were an emphatic contradiction.^ 

It is probable that our Lord, speaking in Aramaic, said 
simply ' Blessed are the poor.' But, inasmuch as the Aramaic 
word need not mean, and was not intended to mean, those who 
are destitute of this world's goods, the Greek translator was more 
than justified in rendering the single word ' poor ' by ' poor in 
spirit' {imdxol t$ wvev/jLon), Those who are literally poor are 
not necessarily poor in spirit ; and those who are wealthy can 
nevertheless be poor in spirit' Of course, being poor in spirit 
does not mean spiritual poverty, want of spiritual gifts. It 
means the character of those who feel their great n^s {pti 
sentiunt se per sc non habere justitiam) and their entire depend- 
ence upon God for the supply of all that they require (see below 
on the third Beatitude). 

Of all such it is true that ' theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' 
This is not the reward of their being poor in spirit, but the 
result of it It is not so much a question of recompense as of 
consequence.' It explains why the poor in spirit are blessed. 

^ DiiU est U Pire des espHts, et V amour est la constitution du royaume 
itemeL On nepeut vaincre la terre qu*au nom du del; et le monde est aux 
pieds de eeltU quit ne peut pas sMuire ( Amiel). 

' " A rich man, who is able to despise in himself whatsoever there is in 
him by which pride can be puffed up, is God's poor man " (Augustine, quoted 
by Cornelius k Lapide, ad loc,). Such men '* confess their poverty with as 
great humility of spirit, and pray for grace with as great earnestness, as 
begears ask alms of the rich." 

^Comp. the blessii^ in the Testaments: rol ol rrci^oi did K^piw 
vXwTurBifjoPToi, khX ol 4p relrif x'^fi^^'^^'h^^^^i '^^^ ^ ^^ Affd€PtUf, Iffx^ovair 
[/udah XXV. 4 ; comp. Lk. vi. 20, 21). See Hort on Rev. i. 3. 


And so also in each of the Beatitudes; the 'for' introduces a 
fact which justifies the paradoxical declaration. And the placing 
of the same fact as the explanation both of the first and of the 
last Beatitude {w. 3, 10) indicates that the possession of the 
Kingdom sums up all the other results of the blessed dispositions 
that are mentioned. This is true even of 'inheriting the earth '; 
for only when the rule of God has completely superseded and 
extinguished the prevalence, and even the presence of evil, will it 
be true that the meek are the universal inheritors. Of course, 
'theirs is the Kingdom' does not mean that the poor in spirit 
and the persecuted for righteousness' sake are to rule: the 
one ruler of the Kingdom is God. It means that they are 
worthy members of the Kingdom, and are counted among 
His subjects. In each Beatitude the emphasis is on the pro- 
noun ; * for theirs is,' * for they shall ' ; — precisely they among all 

The first Beatitude by itself, and still more the whole series, 
shows that the Sermon is addressed to those who have already 
made some progress as the followers of the Messiah. They have 
responded to the call to repentance, and have believed the good 
news of the nearness of the Kingdom. And this tells us that, 
although Mt. places this illustration of the Messiah's teaching 
very early in his Gospel, yet the Sermon cannot have been delivered 
at the beginning of the Galilean ministry^ for the people would 
not have been ready for it It implies a good deal of previous 
{teaching, and we must consider that iv. 23-25 is a summary of 
months of work (see above). 

It is fanciful to say that " each Beatitude springs from the 
preceding"; but it was probably a wish to make the second 
spring from the first that caused some copyists to place 'the 
meek ' immediately after ' the poor in spirit.' It is permissible 
to say that the first Beatitude, like the last, is excellently placed, 
and that perhaps no other would have filled the position of 
leader so well, although much might be said for the fourth ; but 
we cannot reasonably deduce each from the one that immedi- 
ately precedes it 

Just as 'the poor' does not mean all who are in actual 
poverty, so ' those who mourn ' does not mean all who happen to 
be lamenting. Much will depend on the cause of the mourning 
and of the spirit of the mourners. Those who lament earthly 
losses are not sure of comfort But those who moiurn over their 
own shortcomings and sins, and those who lament the wicked- 
ness of the world ^ may count upon the Divine sympathy. 

'Com p. I Cor. v. 2 and 2 Cor. xii. 21, where the same verb (irevOeip) is 
used, and St Paul's mourning over his own spiritual condition (Rom. 
Til 24). 


Whatever hinders the realization of the Kingdom, and interferes 
with God's complete sovereignty on earth, must be a cause of 
sorrow to all who desire to be His loyal subjects ; and sorrow of 
this kind is certain of relief. Nor is the relief to be understood 
exclusively of the day when ' God shall wipe away all tears from 
their eyes.' In this life also there is large comfort and com- 
pensation for mourners, if only they mourn because God's wiU is 
not obeyed, and not because * He maketh not their own desire 
to grow ' (2 Sam. xxiii. 5).^ 

We cannot be certain of the estact difference which ought to 
be drawn between the ' poor in spirit ' and the ' meek.' But the 
latter (wpatU) are, as regards their name, more definitely religious 
and pious in their lowliness than the former. The two classes 
perhaps correspond to two Hebrew words, which are thus dis- 
tinguished. The prominent idea of a 'poor' man (dnl) is that 
of one who is ill-treated and therefore in need; but gradually 
there was added the idea that the ' poor ' man was righteous, and 
perhaps ill-treated on account of his righteousness, and therefore 
having a special claim on God's help. The word is used of 
Israel, as the ideally holy nation, suffering in the wilderness or 
from oppression. On the other hand, the ' meek ' man (dndw) 
is one who is humble-minded and bows at once to the will of 
God. So that, while 'poor' means first 'humbled' by man's 
oppression and then ' humble ' in the religious sense, ' meek ' has 
a religious signification from the first, and therefore might be 
rendered 'humble.' For 'meekness' commonly means a dis- 
position towards men ; but what is meant here and in Ps. xxxvii. 
1 1, from which this Beatitude is taken, is a disposition towards 
God, humility; comp. Ps. x. 17, xxiL 26, xxv. 9, xxxiv. 2. But 
sharp distinctions of meaning in such words have a tendency to 
wear off, and we cannot always insist upon them. The ' poor,' 
'meek,' 'humble,' are often mentioned in the Psalms and 
Prophets as those who have a special claim upon the protection 
of God and of the good rulers who represent Him. They are 
the 'Israelites indeed,' waiting patiently for the salvation of 
Israel, a ' little flock,' that often suffers from the persecution df 
the ungodly, but submits patiently to the will, and trusts always 
to the care, of the Lord who is their Shepherd (Ps. xxiii.).* 
When, through the growth of the Kingdom, the ungodly are 
weeded out from the earth, the 'meek' are left to inherit it 
Ps. xxxvii. 10, II shows that the patristic interpretation, 'the 

^ Nevertheless there is a sense in which literal poverty and sorrow for 
worldly troubles may be regarded as blessings ; for suffering of this kind may 
lead men to desire the Kingdom of Heaven, and this desire may lead them to 
prepare themselves for it. 

^ See Driver, art. * Poor * in Hastings' DB. iv. ; Kirkpatrick on Ps. 
is. 12 ; Hatch, Biblical Greek, pp. 73-77. 


earth's the *new earth ' = * heaven/ *the land of the living,* is 
not correct 

The fourth Beatitude is much less paradoxical in form than 
the first three. It is easy to understand that those who eagerly 
desire what it is God's wiU that they should possess are likely to 
be gratified. And it is remarkable that it is the hunger and 
thirst for righteousness, and not the possession of it, that is 
pronounced blessed. To believe oneself to be in possession of 
righteousness, like the Pharisee in the parable, is fatal. To 
know oneself to be in want of it is not enough. One must feel 
the want of it, and have a passionate and persistent longing for 
it, in order to be accounted blessed by Christ ; for such a longing 
is sure to induce the person who feels it to strive hard for the 
object of his desire. Contentment, even in material things, 
ought not to extinguish efforts for improvement ; and we ought 
never to be content with our moral and spiritual condition. We 
must ever have a hunger and thirst for something better ; and 
the greater progress that a man makes towards something better, 
the greater will be his dissatisfaction with the attainment, and 
the greater his desire for something more. In this case, he who 
eats will yet be hungry, and he who drinks will yet be thirsty ; 
for self-satisfaction becomes less and less possible, the more he 
gets of the 'righteousness' with which God is enriching him. 
It is the hungry soul that God fills with goodness, and it is the 
mouth that is opened wide for spiritual blessings that He has 
promised to make fulL^ The whole purpose of the Sermon on 
the Mount is to teach mankind the nature of the righteousness 
which God wills, and thereby to excite a strong desire for it. 
But this Beatitude is not placed first, perhaps because, for the 
sake of arresting the attention, the three that are most startling 
were selected as the opening proclamations. For a similar 
reason, in order to make a lasting impression, a Beatitude as 
surprising as the first three is placed last and enlarged (10-12). 

The ^/tA Beatitude declares a law which holds good to a 
large extent even in the dealings of men with one another. On 
the whole, the merciful are mercifully treated, and those who 
show no mercy get none. But there are plenty of exceptions 
to this general principle. Yet, although this roughly equitable 
custom is perhaps included in the Beatitude, it is certainly not 
the chief part of its meaning. The chief meaning is, that those 
who are merciful to their fellow-men will themselves find mercy 
at the Day of Judgment And here God's mercy is at once 
cause and effect Because God is merciful to him, the righteous 

^ The other aspect of diKaio<rj6yri, as justice between man and man, need 
not be excluded. The Christian must desire earnestly that justice may prevail 
everywhere, and it is a blessed thing to have a consuming zeal for it 



man is merciful to others (xviii. 21-35); and, because he is 
merciful, he wins God*s mercy. 'Merciful' (ikei^fnav) is very 
frequent in the O.T., especially of God, in which connexion it 
is often joined with 'gracious' or 'compassionate' {obcripfuay), 
particularly in the Psalms (Ixxxvi. 15, dii. 8, C3d. 4, cxii. 4, 
cxvi. 5, cxlv. 8). But in the N.T. it b found only here and 
Heb. ii. 17, where it is used of Christ proving Himself a merciful 
and faithful High Priest. On the other hand, the verb (IXcciv) 
is frequent in both O.T. and N.T. (ix. 27, xv. 22, xviL 15, xviii. 
33, XX. 30, 31, etc.). It is in favour of including justice between 
man and man in the ' righteousness ' which we are to hunger and 
thirst after that the Beatitude respecting the merciful follows 
immediately afterwards. However great our zeal for justice 
may be, it must not exclude the element of mercy. If justice 
is an attribute of God, so also is mercy; and those who have 
set the Divine excellence before them as an ideal to be longed 
for and striven after, must not forget that He is merciful as well 
as just. The Psalmist in describing the perfect man ascribes 
to him just the combination of mercy and justice (cxiL 4) which 
had previously been ascribed to Jehovah (cxL 3, 4) ; and it is the 
man who fears such a God that is declared to be ' blessed ' (cxii. i). 
Only men, and evil men, are said to be without mercy (<Sye\ci7fu>vc() 
either in the N.T. (Rom. i. 31), or in the O.T. (Prov. v, 9, xi. 17, 
xii. 10, xxviL 4; Job xix. 14). But Prov. xvii. 11 may be an 
exception, if the 'pitiless messenger' means a severe judgment 
inflicted on the sinner by God. But we limit ' mercy ' too much 
when we make it synonymous with forgiveness. God bestows 
many mercies upon us besides those which have reference to 
our sins; and we must be ready to bestow many on others, 
quite independently of any injuries which we think that we have 
received from them. 'Freely ye have received; freely give.' 
While the first four Beatitudes set forth some of the main 
features in the love of God, this and the seventh inculcate 
the love of man. Yet it is remarkable that in none of them 
does the word ' love ' appear. 

There is danger also of limiting unduly the meaning of the 
sixtA Beatitude. It is very frequently regarded simply as the 
spiritual counterpart and enlargement of the seventh Command- 
ment. Purity of heart in that restricted sense is no doubt part 
of the meaning of this declaration ; but it is not the whole of it 
' He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart (icatfapo^ r^ KopSti^i, 
as here) ; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity (unreality, 
insincerity), and hath not sworn deceitfully ' (Ps. xxiv. 4), is the 
character to be understood here.^ Such a one is innocent of all 

1 * In heart' here is exactly parallel to ' in spirit' in the first Beatitude ; 
the qualification indicates the region in which tne special rirtue is exercised. 


evil, not only in fact, but in intention ; his eye is single (vi 22) ; 
he has, as Augustine says, cor simplex^ a heart without folds; 
he has no desire to offend either God or man. Cleanness of 
mind and sincerity of purpose are his characteristics : and such 
as he ' may ascend into the mountain of Jehovah, and stand in 
His holy place' (Ps. xxiv. 3). 'And they shall see His face' 
(Rev. xxii 4), and ' they shall be like Him, because they shall 
see Him even as He is ' (i Jn. iii. 2). And, as Irenseus says, 
"the vision of God is productive of immortality" (iv. xxxviii. 3). 
This ' seeing God ' has its complete realization when the Kingdom 
comes in its completeness ; but even in this world it has much 
fulfilment It is the pure-minded, single-hearted man who is 
best able to see God in His works, and to trace His counsels 
in the course of history. His mind, like a mirror that is kept 
dean and bright, is able to reflect the workings of Providence. 
And it is he who is most frequently conscious of the presence of 
€k>d in himself. And, as to the final revelation, when ' God is 
all in all ' (i Cor. xv. 28) ; if even another sovereign could speak 
with such enthusiasm of the happiness of those who stood 
continually in the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom and 
see his glory (i Kings x. 8), we may well believe that it 'has not 
entered into the heart of man to conceive ' (i Cor. ii. 9) what the 
blessedness will be. And there will be the progress of a con- 
tinual action and reaction. Those who are admitted to the 
Presence will see Him, because they are like Him, and they will 
become more like Him, because they see Him. Assimilation is 
the natural result of intimacy, and the intimacy must be begun 
in this world, if it is to bear fruit in the next. 

Clement of Alexandria {Strom, ii« xx. pp. 488, 9, ed. Potter) 
quotes a fine passage from Valentinus, showing that this Gnostic 
teacher used Mt. and delighted in the sixth Beatitude. '* Now 
One is good (Mt xix. 1 7), whose revelation through His Son was 
made openly, and through Him alone could the heart be made 
pure, every evil spirit being thrust out from the heart. For 
many spirits by dwelling in it do not allow it to be pure. And 
methinks the heart is treated very much the same as a common 
mn. For it has holes and gutters made in it, and is often filled 
with filth, through men staying in it who have nasty ways, and 
pay no respect to the place, because it belongs to some one else. 
So fares it with the heart also, so long as it meets with no 
respect, being impure and the home of many demons (Mt. xii. 
44, 45). But when the Father who alone is good (Mt. xix. 17) 
visits it, it is sanctified and beams with light. And so he is 
blessed who has such a heart, for he shall see God" (Mt. v. 8). 

Here it is clearly intimated that 'the pure' does not refer to external or 
oeremoniaJ purifications, and is not limited to abstention from impure acts. 


The seventh Beatitude concludes the description of the ideal 
Christian ; the remaining one describes the way in which he is 
treated by the world. Here we return once more to the love of 
his fellow-men, which is conspicuous in the 'merciful' of the 
fifth Beatitude, and which is part of the meaning of the ' pure in 
heart ' of the sixth. ^ As to the connexion between the sixth and 
the seventh, it is remarkable that we have the substance of them 
in close proximity, but in the reverse order, in Heb. xiL 14: 
' Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification (ayuur/Aos) 
without which no man shall see the Lord.' The order here is 
better. The sanctincation comes first, and that in two ways. 
The would-be peacemaker is hardly likely to be successhil, 
unless his own life is clean and his motives pure. Again, 
sanctification must not be sacrificed, even in the sacred interests 
of peace (see Westcott, ad lac.). The blessedness of peacemaking 
is intelligible even to those who never try to win it, though the 
office of peacemaker is often a thankless one. Hillel is reported 
to have said, " Be ye of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and 
pursuing peace." In the Book of the Secrets of Enoch, which 
was written not much, if at all, before this Gospel, there is a 
remarkable passage somewhat similar to the Beatitudes, 
especially as given in Lk. with parallel Woes. We have fourteen 
aphorisms, seven of which begin "Blessed is," and seven, 
" Cursed is " ; and they are placed alternately. The sixth pair 
runs thus : '' Blessed is he who establishes peace and love. 
Cuised is he who troubles those who are at peace" (liL 

II, I2).« 

The Messiah b the ' Prince of Peace,' 'and the Kingdom 
which He came to found is a Kingdom of peace. All peace- 
makers, therefore, are spreading His sovereignty and the rule of 
the Father; and they 'shall be called sons of God,' for 'such 
they are' (i Jn. iii. i). Called so, not by the world, which 
perhaps will abuse them for uncalled-for interference, but by 
God Himself and by His Son. The Messiah will < give them 

^ Origen includes among the peacemakers those who reconcile what 
appears to be discordant in Scripture ; such a one wMfiot tlpffipuft fiXirtt iw 
0Xatt racf ypa<pats, jroU ratt SoKO^ait rtpUxfw M-^XW f^^ iytumt&fiULTa rp6s 
dXXi^Xaf [Phihcal. vi. i). 

' In an earlier chapter (xlii. 6-14) are nine Beatitudes, which (like these 
in Mt.) have no Woes or Curses ; but there is little resemblance with these. 
''Blessed is he who has love upon his lips, and tenderness in his heart" 
eomes nearest In the Talmud, Abaygeh says : " Let him be affable and 
disposed to foster kindlv feelings between all people ; by so doing he will 

rin for himself the love both of the Creator and of His creatures." Cornelius 
Lapide tells of one Caspar Barzaus of Goa, who was so successful as a 
peacemaker that the lawyers said that they would be starved, for he put a 
stop to all litigation. Did they persecute him, and thus make a connexion 
between the seventh Beatitude ana the eighth ? 


the right to become children of God' (Jn. i. 12). and the 
Father will recognize them as such, because they have striven 
to make the contentious members of His family * dwell together 
in unity.' And this special title of ' sons of God ' indicates one 
of the wa3rs in which peacemakers should work, viz. by trying to 
reconcile each of the contending parties to God before trying to 
reconcile them to one another. Men will often listen more 
readily to ^diat is set before them as their duty to God than 
to what is urged upon them as due to those who have offended 
them. And if the peacemaker is to be successful in reconciling 
to God those who are at strife with one another, he must himself 
be reconciled to God, and thus be at peace with himself. Peace- 
making begins at home, in a man's own heart, and thence 
spreads to the whole circle of God's family. 

The first seven Beatitudes state the leading features of the 
ideal Christian character as it is in itself, and these features 
consist largely of the Christian's attitude towards God and 
towards men. The dghtk and last Beatitude deals with men's 
attitude towards the Christian. That attitude will commonly be 
one of hostility. * Because ye are not of the world, but I chose 
you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you ' (Jn. xv. 19). 
Men commonly dislike those whose principles differ greatly from 
their own, and especially those whose principles are much higher 
than their own. The righteous man is a standing reproach to 
those who are not righteous, and it is exasperating to be con- 
stantly reminded that one's life is not what it ought to be. The 
true Christian is sure to be persecuted (by coldness, contempt, 
and ridicule, if not by actual ill-usage) ; and when he has been 
thus persecuted, this is another element of blessedness, in addition 
to the many elements which are the results of his beautiful 
character. Here then, as in the first three Beatitudes, we have a 
highly paradoxical statement^ Granted that it may be a happy 
thing to long for righteousness, to be merciful, single-hearted, and 
strivers after peace, to be told that it is a blessed thing to be 
peisecuted for well-doing is as startling as to be told that it is a 
blessed thing to be meek and poor in spirit, and to mourn. But 
those who have accepted the first seven Beatitudes are not likely 
to take ofience at the eighth. Those who mourn over the lack 
of righteousness in themselves and in the world, — those who 
hunger and thirst for the righteousness that is thus lacking, will 
be ready to suffer persecution rather than let go,« either the 

' Chzist purposely adopted paradoxical fonns of expression, to arrest 
attention ana to stimulate thouent. Thus He says that to find one's life is 
to lose it, and to lose one's life for His sake is to find it (x. 39 ; Mk. viii. 35 ; 
Lk. xvii. y^ ; Jn* ^eii. 25). Self-seeking is self-destruction ; self-sacrifice is 
self-{)ieservation« He uses vivid, popular language, calculated to remain in 


righteousness which has been attained, or the hope of attaining 
more ; and they may be assured that it is a blessed thing thus 
to suffer. They have given one more proof that they are worthy 
of admission to the Kingdom of Heaven. 

The fact that the explanation of the blessedness in the last 
Beatitude is the same as that in the first seems to intimate that 
the possession of the Kingdom sums up all the other results in 
the six intermediate Beatitudes.^ He who is admitted, to the 
fulness of the Kingdom, is comforted, inherits the earth, is filled 
with righteousness, has obtained mercy, sees God, and is 
welcomed as a son of God : ' I have called thee by thy name, 
thou art Mine' (Is. xliii. i). It is no objection to this that the 
result in the first and last Beatitudes is stated in the present 
tense, whereas the results in the intervening six are in the future. 
In the first and last Beatitude the 'is' was probably absent from 
the Aramaic original : * Blessed the poor, for theirs the Kingdom ' ; 
' Blessed the persecuted, for theirs the Kingdom.' And seeing 
that the Kingdom is partly present and partly future, the differ- 
ence between ' is' and 'shall be' is not great 

This last Beatitude does not mean that the ideal Christian 
character cannot be attained without persecution. That would 
make the wickedness of the unrighteous to be essential to the 
perfection of the righteous. It means that, where the Christian 
character provokes persecution (as, until God's rule is fully 
established, it is sure to do), the Christian has an additional 
opportunity of proving his sonship and his fitness for the 
Kingdom. Jesus Himself suffered for righteousness' sake, and 
those who take up His work, and would share His glory, must 
not expect, and will not ask for, any other experience (Jn. xv. 
18-20, xvii. 14, 15). It is persecution rather than prosperity 
that promotes the well-being and progress of the Church. See 
Cyprian, De Lapsis^ 5-7 ; Eusebius, H. E. viii. i. 7. 

The Beatitudes in Lk. are addr^sed to the disciples through- 
out: 'Blessed are j'tf poor; sx^ye that weep,' etc. Only to the 
disciples of Christ is actual poverty and sorrow of any kind sure 
to be a blessing: but all men are the better for being meek, 
merciful, and peacemakers. Here our Lord, having stated the 
eight Beatitudes in their universal and more spiritual form, 
passes on to apply the last Beatitude to the disciples, and to 
explain it more fully. ' Blessed are ye when men shall reproadi 

^ Octava ianquam ad caput redit; quia consummatum peffectumqtu 
osUndiif the complete and perfect man has been set forth (Atig. De Serm. 
Dom, I. !▼. 12). "In these separated blessings there is an implicit snmmons 
to seek to complete the Christian character in aU its aspects, to polish the 
diamond on all its sides, that so on every side it may be capable ot reflecting 
that light of heaven which will on that side also fiill upon it" (Trench, 
Exp, tfthe Serm, on the Motmt^ p. 181). 


you.* *For My sake' is essential; it is equivalent to 'for 
righteousness' sake' in the preceding verse, and it belongs to 
* reproach you * and ' persecute you,' as well as to * say all manner 
of evil against you falsely.' Here we have the form which 
religious persecution commonly takes at the present time. The 
cruelties of the arena and of the scaffold are in abeyance, but 
reviling clamour and slanderous statements are still frequent; 
and those who suffer from them should remember these verses. 
They may rejoice, for they will share the reward of the Prophets 
and of Him who is greater than the Prophets.^ 

From slightly different points of view the next four verses 
(13-16) might be grouped either with what precedes, as a con- 
tinuation of the statement of the qualifications of those who can 
enter the Kingdom, or with what follows, as an introduction to 
the duties of those who have entered the Kingdom. The former 
arrangement seems better ; but in neither case is the connexion 
very dose. We may suspect that some words of the original 
Sermon are omitted between verses 12 and 13, and again between 
16 and 17. In these four verses the metaphors of salt and of 
light are used to set forth certain necessary functions of the true 
disciple. Lk. gives the salt-metaphor in a different connexion 
(xiv. 34, 35); and, if the saying was uttered only once, his 
arrangement seems more probable than that of Mt. But the 
wordmg in Mt. may be nearer the original. 

V. 18-16. Tfu Christian Life as Salt and Light. 

" There is nothing more useful than salt and sunshine," says 
Pliny {N. H. xxxi. 9, 45, 102). Salt gives savour to food and 
preserves from corruption. It makes food both more palatable 
and more wholesome. The disciple whose life is shaped accord- 
ing to the Beatitudes will make the Gospel both acceptable and 
useful. But selfish and apostate disciples are worse than useless. 
Many substances, when they become corrupt, are useful as 
manure. Savourless salt is not even of this much use; it 
cumbers the ground. "I saw large quantities of it literally 
thrown into the street, to be trodden under foot of men and 
beasts" (Thomson, Land and Book, p. 381).' Ministers that 

^ " When Jesus comforts them by reminding them that formerly the 
Prophets fared no better than they, we see clearly with what class of men He 
ranks Flimself. He is now the Prophet of His people — a view in no sense 
at variance with His secret conviction that He is the Messiah " (O. Holtzmann). 
And as to the rejoicing, gaudium non solum affectus est, sed etiam offUium 
Christiani (Bengel). 

' The fiict, if it be a fact, that pure salt cannot lose its savour, need cause 
no difficulty. The salt in use in Palestine was not pure, and savourless salt 
means the salt in common use, with the sodium chloride washed out of it 


have lost the spirit of devotion will never rescue the world from 
corruption. Perhaps the connecting thought is, that Christians, 
like the Prophets who saved Israel from corruption, must be 
ready to suffer persecution. And in Jesus we have a Prophet 
who dares to tell the group of unknown persons around Him 
that they will be more than equal to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel ; 
they will be as ready as these Prophets were to suffer for pro- 
claiming the truth; and they will recall, not one nation, but 
many, from spiritual decay. But they must beware lest, instead 
of preserving others, they themselves become tainted with rotten- 
ness. The salt must be in close contact with that which it pre- 
serves ; and too often, while Christians raise the morality of the 
world, they allow their own morality to be lowered by the world. 

If we assume that the sayings about salt and l^ht (13, 14) 
followed immediately afler the sayings respecting the blessedness 
of being persecuted for Christ's sake, especially in the case of the 
Apostles, then the connexion in thought will be : Great indeed is 
the blessedness, but great also is the responsibility. You can do 
an immense amount of good to others ; but you can also do an 
immense amount of harm. You can win a great reward; but 
you can also incur a heavy retribution. In Lk. xiv. 34, 35 the 
saying about salt is addressed to the multitudes who flocked after 
Him as if desiring to become disciples, and He warns them to 
count the cost. In Mk. ix. 50 the saying is addressed to the 
disciples, as here. See Latham, Pastor Pastorum, p. 360. It 
is not probable that there is any special connexion between this 
saying and the fourth Beatitude. "Salt excites thirst] so the 
Apostles have excited a thirst for heavenly things." This is not 
one of the good properties of salt, and if it lost this property, it 
would hardly be less useful The analogy is forced and fanciful. 
Comp. rather Col. iv. 6 ; and for ' earth ' in the sense of the 
inhabitants of the earth, ' Shall not the Judge of all the earth do 
right?' (Gen. xviii. 25). It is obvious that there can be no 
thought here of salt as the cause of barrenness^ an idea which is 
not rare in the O.T. (Deut. xxix. 23 ; Job xxxix. 6 ; Jer. xvii. 6 ; 
Ezek. xlvii. 1 1 ; Zeph. ii. 9). Sowing a city with salt (Judg. 
ix. 45) may mean that the place was laid under a curse, salt 
being used in religious rites (Lev. ii. 13; Ezek. xliii. 24). 
* Wherewith shall the earth be salted ' (k, Luther) is of course 
not the meaning. 

This leads to the second metaphor.^ If the Christian must 

^ With the pair of metaphors compare the parables of the Mustard Seed 
and the L«iven (xiii. 3i-33)< Abbott suspects that Jn. viii. 12 alludes to 
Mt. V. 14, and is meant to be a correction of it. In Mt. Christ says, ' Ye are 
the light of the world,' in Jn. He says, ' / am the Light of the world/ 
Johannine VocaMary, 1748. 


live in the world, in order to save it from moral decay, he must 
also live above it and aloof from it, like a light on a high place 
illuminating far and wide. By his own life he will show what 
true life is. In both metaphors the emphasis is on character ; 
on what men are rather than on What they accomplish. Good 
salt cannot help giving a wholesome savour. Unobscured light 
cannot help shining. So also the man whose character reflects 
the Beatitudes cannot help being a wholesome and illuminating 
influence. Such a man cannot and will not isolate himself: his 
goodness will be infectious. Christian character is not individual 
and selfish, but social and beneficent To attend only to his 
own soul is to lose savour and to obscure light. The light must 
shine ' before men ' ; which is not the same thing as shining ' to 
be seen of men.' Good influence is to be allowed free play ; not 
for self-glorification, but for the glory of God.^ And influence 
there will be, whether good or bad. Moreover, the world will 
measure the value of the Gospel by it. Men estimate the worth 
of Christianity, not by the Beatitudes, not by the Sermon on the 
Mount, but by the lives of the Christians whom they see and know. 

In both metaphors there may be a reference to the last 
Beatitude. It may be the fear of being laughed at and 
persecuted that causes the disciple to cease to work against the 
corruption of the world and to cease to make the Gospel 
palatable ; and it may be the same fear that causes him to hide 
the light of a Christian life and in the end to allow it to become 
extinguished. Thus human society loses what might have 
preserved and illuminated it, and it is left to decay in the dark. 
The saying is as old as S. Chrysostom, that there would be no 
more heathen, if Christians took care to be what they ought to 
be ; or, as the same truth is sometimes expressed, if the Church 
were for one day what it ought to be, the world would be 
converted before nightfall. 

With the metaphor of the light is joined that of 'a city set on 
a hill ' ; and we thus have a triplet of metaphors. But the third 
is not parallel to the other two, for it does not set forth a duty, 
.but states a &ct. It is the duty of disciples to become as salt 
and as light; but they cannot help being as a city on a hill. 
They may hide the goodness of their lives, or cease to have any 
goodness to exercise, but they cannot hide their lives. For 
good or for evil the life will be seen and will have influence. 
^The bushel' and ^the lampstand' mean such as are usually 
found in a house; comp. Mk. iv. 21, 22; Lk. xi. 33; and 
contrast Lk. viii. 16, 17. 

' Excepting Mk. xi. 25, the expression ' your Father which is in heaven ' 
is peculiar to Mt and characteristic. It perhaps originated in Jewish 
Christianity (Dalman, The Words of Jems ^ pp. 184-194). 


The Ozyrh3aichiis Logion vii. is little more than ver. 14 partly abbreviated 
and partly expanded, and the expansion may have been suggested by vii. 
24, 25. A^ec *Ii7<roOt, r6\is <UKoSofirifiipfi iir* Axpop 6povs 6\lni\od ml 
iffTJipiyiUvyi oUrt nffw d^arat oUre Kpvpijwau, "Jesus saith, A city built 
upon the top of a high hill and stablished can neither fall nor be hid." The 
reading (fiKoSo/iti/Uni for KeifUni (Mt. v. 14) is supported by S3rr-Sin. and 
Syr-Cur., Tatian and HUary (adtyicaia) ; and olKodofirifUni ynthout augment 
is found in some MSS. and inscriptions. Grenfell and Hunt, A6yta 'IricoO, 
1897, p. 15; Lock and Sanday, Taw Lectures on the * Sayings of Jesus * 
1897, p. 26. 

As in many other passages (iii. 15, v. 12, vL 30, vii. 12, 17, etc) 
the 'so* (pvTwt) in ^So let your fight shine before men' may 
refer to what precedes rather than to what follows. There seems 
to be no example elsewhere of ovrois being used to anticipate 
oTTUi^. The meaning probably is, ' In the same way as a well- 
placed lamp lights every one in the house let your light shine 
before men, so that they may see your good works.' But, what- 
ever the construction may be, it is evident that it is conduct 
that is insisted upon rather than preaching. No doubt 'your 
good works ' will cover preaching (Jn. x. 32), but it is the life 
that is lived rather than the words that are spoken that Christ 
emphasizes. Example is the best kind of teaching. Comp. 
Jn. xiii. 35. 

Here for the first time Mt uses the expression, which is so frequent in his 
Gospel, ' the Father who is in heaven ' (6 irar^p 6 iv rots o^popocs), and which 
occurs only once in Mk. (xi. 25). Comp. * the heavenly Father ' (6 wariip 6 
odpdyios) which is freauent in Mt. (v. 48, vi. 14, 26, 32, xv. 13, xviii. 35, 
xxiii. 9), and is founa nowhere else. He often represents the Messiah as 
saying 'your Father' (v. 16, 4S, 48, vi. i, 14, 15, 26, etc.), *thy Father* 
(vi. 4, 6, 18), and *My Father* (vii. 21, x. 32, 33, xi. 27, etc.), but never 
• Our Father.' The Lord's Prayer (vi. 9) is not one in which the Lord 
Himself joins. Even where Christ calls His disciples His brethren (xii. 49, 
50), He does not say ' Our Father,* but * My Father.* 

V. 17-48. The Christian lAfe contrasted with the Jewish Ideal. 

The general drift of this section is that the Christian ideal is 
immeasurably higher than the Jewish. It excludes all degrees, 
of sin, even in thought and feeling, whereas the old ideal excluded 
only acts, and only those acts which were specified as prohibited 
by the Law. This higher principle is illustrated in respect to 
murder (21-26), adultery (27-30), divorce (31, 32), oaths (33-37), 
retaliation (38-42), love of others (43-47), and is summed up as 
a law of perfection (48). 

But, while the general drift is clear, it is not always easy to 
reconcile the particular statements with one another, or with 
other portions of the Sermon. That, however, need not perplex 
us. We have to remember that we have not got the exact words 


that Christ said, nor all the words that He said. We must also 
remember that it was often His method to make wide-reaching 
statements, and leave His hearers to find out the necessary 
limitations and qualifications by thought and experience. 
Ruskin has said that in teaching the principles of art he was 
never satisfied until he had contradicted himself several times. 
If verbal contradictions cannot be avoided in expounding 
principles of art, is it likely that they can be avoided in setting 
forth for all time and all nations the principles of morality and 

'Think not (comp. iiL 9, x. 34) that I came to destroy the 
Law or the Prophets.' Such an expression implies that He 
knew that there was danger of their thinking so, and possibly 
that some had actually said this of Him.^ The Pharisees would 
be sure to say it He disregarded the oral tradition, which they 
held to be equal in authority to the written Law ; and He inter- 
preted the written Law according to its spirit, and not, as they 
did, according to the rigid letter. He did not keep the weekly 
fasts, nor observe the elaborated distinctions between clean and 
unclean, and He consorted with outcasts and sinners. He 
neglected the traditional modes of teaching, and preached in a 
way of His own. Above all, He spoke as if He Himself were 
an authority, independent of the Law. Even some of His own 
followers may have been perplexed, and have thought that He 
proposed to supersede the Law. They might suppose " that it 
was the purpose of His mission simply to break down restraints, 
to lift firom men's shoulders the duties which they felt as burdens. 
The law was full of commandments ; the Prophets were full of 
rebukes and warnings. Might not the mild new Rabbi be 
welcomed as one come to break down the Law and the Pro- 
phets, and so lead the way to less exacting ways of life? This is 
the delusion which our Lord set Himself to crush. The gospel 
of the Kingdom was not a gospel of indulgence." ' He was not 
a fanatical revolutionary, but a Divine Restorer and Reformer. 

This section of the Sermon is by some regarded as the theme 
of the whole discourse. But this is not probable : much of the 
Sermon has no direct relation to it. Lk., while giving so much 
of the same or of a similar sermon, omits this section altogether, 

1 This is further evidence that the Sermon could not have been delivered 
at the beginning of the ministry. 

* HoTi^ /udaisHc Christianity^^. 15. The 'I came' (fiSBw) probably 
implies the pre-existence of the Messiah, as also in z. 34 : compare iraped6^ 
(xL 27). 'The Law^ and the Prophets' b a Itynsh expression for the 
Scriptures: vii. 12, xi. 13, xxii. 40; Lk. xvi. 16: comp. Lk. xvi. 29, 31, 
xxiv. 44 ; Jd. i. 45. Christ here says ' the Law or the Prophets,' because 
He mi^ht have upheld the one and rejected the other ; but He has not come 
to abohsh either. 


as of less interest for Gentiles. Could he have done so, had it 
been the main subject ? 

The first four verses (17-20) give the general principle of the 
Messiah's relation to the Law : " not destruction, but fulfilment." 
The remainder (21-48) give the illustrations. At the outset He 
implies that He is the Coming One (6 ipxofM^eyo^) : ' Think not 
that I came ' : and throughout He speaks with a calm assertion 
of supreme authority, which impresses readers now, as it im- 
pressed hearers then.^ He is evidently conscious of possessing 
this supreme authority, and it manifests itself quite naturally, not 
in studied phrases, but as the spontaneous expression of His 
habitual modes of thought One who knew that He was the 
Messiah, and was conscious of His own absolute righteousness, 
would consistently, perhaps we may say, inevitably, speak in 
some such way as this.' Could any one else speak in this quiet 
majestic way of ' fulfilling the Law,' or side by side with the Law 
place His own declarations : ' But / say to you,* 

It is not obvious at first sight what Christ means by ' fulfill- 
ing {vXrfpQKrai) the Law.' He does not mean taking the written 
Law as it stands, and literally obeying it That is what He con- 
demns, not as wrong, but as wholly inadequate. He means 
rather, starting with it as it stands, and bringing it on to 
completeness; working out the spirit of it; getting at the 
comprehensive principles which underlie the narrowness of the 
letter. These the Messiah sets forth as the essence of the 
revelation made by God through the Law and the Prophets. 
Through them He has revealed His will, and it is impossible 
that His Son should attempt to pull down or undo {KaraXvo-ai) 
this revelation of the Father's will, or that His will, in the small- 
est particular, should fail of fulfilment* Not until the whole of 
the Divine purpose has been accomplished (lois &v Trdrra 
yhnfToi), caii the smallest expression of the Divine will be 
abolished. And he who prematurely relaxes the hold (Xwrff) 
which one of these minor enactments has on the conscience, 
will be the worse for it He will not be expelled from the 

^ It was a rabbinical principle that some authority must confirm the 
dictum of every teacher, the authority either of some previous teacher or of 
the Torah interpreted according to rule. No teacher must base his teaching 
simply on his own authority : that Jesus did this was one of the grievances 
against Him (Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Afidrash^ pp. 9, 151). 

' See Steinbeck, Das g&ttliche SeibsbewusstsHn Jesu nock dem Zeugniss 
der Synoptiker^ Leipzig, 1908, p. 21. " There are none of our Lord's 
sayings wnich bear a stronger mark of genuineness than those in which He 
criticises and enlarges the Mosaic precepts" (Salmon, Human EUtnent, 
p. 120). 

* Here for the first time the solemn ' Verily ' ('A^i^r) is used in this 
GospeL V^ith the whole verse comp. Lk. zvi. 17, which is in quite a differ- 
ent connexion. 'A/aV X^ occurs .10 times in Mt., 13 in Mk., and 6 in Lk. 


Kingdom, but his place in it will be less glorious and less secure ; 
for he is unable to appreciate the relation of small parts to the 
whole, and, although loyal to the whole, he has, in this particular, 
been weakening its authority.^ But there is a much worse error 
than undervaluing this or that detail of what makes for righteous- 
ness. There is the error of misconceiving and misinterpreting 
the very nature of righteousness. This was the error of the 
Scribes and Pharisees, and it is fatal; it excludes from the 

Our Lord is not here alluding to the hypocritical professions 
of the Scribes and Pharisees ; nor to their sophistical evasions of 
the Lscw. We are to think of them rather at their best ; as care- 
fully preserving in writing and in memory the words of the Law 
and of the oral tradition ; as scrupulously observing the exact 
letter of them; and as supposing that this punctiliousness 
IS righteousness.* Those who can suppose that by formal 
obedience to definite precepts they fulfil the will of God and 
do all that is required of them, do not know the barest elements 
of what is required for admission into the Kingdom. They 
know nothing of that inward holiness, the chief characteristics 
of which have just been set forth in the Beatitudes. They have 
been in closest contact with the expression of God's will, and 
yet have never discovered, or wished to discover, the true mean- 
ing of the expression. It is not the Law or the Prophets that 
Jesus proposes to abolish, but the traditional misinterpretations 
of these authorities. To destroy these misinterpretations is to 
open the way for the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets ; 
and He thus substitutes free development of spiritual character 
for servile obedience to oppressive rules. 

The first illustration of the contrast between the Christian 
life and the Jewish ideal is taken from the sixth commandment 
(21-26). There are six illustrations in all, grouped in two 
triplets, which are marked off from one another by the 'Again' 
(fl-oAiv) in ver. 33. Six times in succession does our Lord use the 
magisterial ' But / say to you ' in correction of what had been 
said to an earlier generation (22, 28, 32 ; 34, 39, 44). The 
first triplet refers to the Decalogue, the question of divorce 

* We have here another of the remarkable parallels between Mt and the 
Testaments of the XIL Patriarchs: Ilat df w Uh6xFKti iroXd koX irpdrrei, 
a&F$poFos iffT<u pafftXiuw {Levi ziii. 9). See Charles, p. Ixzx. For \^iw in 
the sense of ' do awav with,' ' destroy,' comp. roi^w XvBrjpoi ffid/wrpop 
itirtpow Ti} 'I^pai^X, " cause a second tribe to be destroyed for Israel" 
(DaH i. 9). 

' *'The Scribes were the trained theologians of Israel, the Pharisees 
were the religious world of IsraeL They therefore represented that element 
in the Jewi£ people with which a religious Teacher might have been ex- 
pected to be in harmony" (Borkitt, T& Gosp, Hist, and its Transmissiam^ 
u. 169). 


being connected with the seventh commandment; the second 
triplet refers to other rules which are prescribed in the 

* Ye have heard that it was said' (21, 27, 33, 38, 43);^ not, 
*Ye have seen that it was written.' Christ is addressing an 
illiterate crowd, most of whom can neither read nor write; 
consequently their knowledge of the Law comes from public 
instruction in the synagogues, where the letter of the Law 
was faithfully read, but the spirit of it frequently missed or 
obscured. It was quite right that whoever committed murder 
should be liable to prosecution; but they ought to have been 
taught more than this. The command, 'Thou shalt not kill,' 
is based on the principle, 'Thou shalt not hate,' and that 
again on the principle, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself' (Lev. xix. 18, 34)., 'Whosoever hateth his brother 
is a murderer' (i Jn. iii. 15), and in the eye of the Divine 
justice he is liable to the same punishment as the actual 
murderer;' where 'brother' is to be understood in its widest 
sense as any member of God's family (viL 3-5, zviii. 15, ai). 
Christ leaves the old commandment standing ; but on His own 
authority He adds what is equally binding with it and ought 
to be regarded as included in the spirit of it. 

' Withoat cause ' (e//c^, sine ectusa) after * angry with his brother ' may be 
an explanatory gloss which has found its way into a large number of the 
less authoritative texts. It is as old as the second century (D, Lat-Vet. Sytr. 
Iren.) ; but it is more likely that it was inserted as an obvious qualification 
than that it was omitted (K B and MSS. known to Jerome and Augustine, Vulg. 
Aeth. , Justin. Tert. ) because it was superfluous. The qualification ' falsely ' 
{yjf^vBbiupw) itiv, II might seem to justify a similar qualification here. The 
evidence of Irenseus is not certain. The Latin translator or a scribe may 
have inserted the sine caussa IV. xiii. I, for, when Irenseus comments on 
the text § 3, he omits the qualification. 

The remainder of ver. 22 is difficult It is possible that the 
report has been so condensed as to be obscure, or that sayings 
which belong to a different occasion have be^ inserted here. 
The paragraph makes excellent sense if the sayings about 
'Raca' and 'Fool' are omitted, and also if tfv. 25, 26 are 
omitted. Taking the text of ver. 22 as it stands, we have a 
climax in the penalties: those of the local court, those of the 

^ This introductory formula occurs five times ; so that Mt. has a group of 
^ve side by side with two groups of three. When He is addressing the 
educated classes, Pharisees or Scribes or Sadducees, Christ says, * Have ye 
not read?* (xii. 3, 5, xix. 4, xxi. 16, 42, xxii. 31). 

> We find this idea in the Testaments of the XII. Patriarchs : *' Fearing lest 
he should offend the Lord, he willeth not to do vrrong to any man, even in 
thought '* ; oO BiKti rb Ka$6\ov oddi fun hvolat ddir^cu i^Bptaww ( Gad v. 5). 
And again : ** As love would quicken even the dead, so hatred would slay 
Ifae living '* {Gad iv. 6). Odium est ira inveUraia, 


supreme court at Jerusalem (the Sanhedrin), and those of God's 
final judgment We assume that there must be a similar climax 
in the offences, which may be expressed thus: unexpressed 
hatred, expressed contempt, and expressed abuse. But it is 
by no means certain that * Thou fool ' (jjuapi) is a stronger term 
of abuse than * Raca' : it may be a translation of it. Our Lord 
Himself uses the word of the foolish builder (vii. 26) and of 
the foolish virgins (xxv. 2, 3, 8), and S. Paul uses its equivalent 
in rebuking the Galatians (iiL i). The very word 'Raca' is a 
puzzle as regards orthography, derivation, and use (see Nestle in 
DCG.y But, assuming that 'Thou fool' is much worse than 
' Raca,' it cannot be meant that while the Sanhedrin can impose 
sufficient penalty for the one, nothing less than the fires of 
Gehenna would suffice for the other.^ It is doubtful whether 
the Sanhedrin would regard the utterance of 'Raca' as an 
offence at all; and certainly our Lord is not condemning all 
use of the word ' fool,' or all use of strong language (xii. 34, 39, 
xvi. 23, xxiii. 13-35)- 

Possibly Christ is ironically imitating the casuistical distinc- 
tions drawn by the Rabbis, and at the same time is teaching 
that all degrees of hatred and contempt, whether expressed or 
not, are sinful and are liable to (^o^os) condemnation by man 
and by God, who alone can judge of the feeling and malevolent 
intention in the heart' This point is enforced by a striking 
illustration. To obey the law of love is better than sacrifice; 
therefore postpone sacrifice rather than postpone reconciliation. 
Suppose that a man with feelings of enmity in his heart has 
actually come to the altar in the Temple with his offering. He 
must not offer it until he has got rid of his bad feelings and 
done his best to make peace with the brother who, rightly or 
wrongly, is emended with him. One who hates the children 
of C^ will not be accepted as His child by the heavenly 
Father, and it is peacemakers who have a special right to be 
regarded as His children (9).^ See Tert De Orat zi. 

^ ' Gehenna,' as a place of future punishment, is frec^uent in Mt. (▼. 22, 
29, 30, X. 28, xviii. 9, xjdiL 15, 33) ; in Mk. thrice ; in Lk., Jas., 2 Pet 
once each. For the important difference between ' Gehenna' and ' Hades/ 
the obliteration of which is one of the most serious defects in the AV., see 
commentaries, DB. and DCG. 

> Our Lord cannot mean that one who cherishes angry feelings may be 
prosecuted : who is to know ? He means that to cherish such feelings is a 
Kind of murder, and merits the like penalty. Occidisti quern odisH. 

• The change of construction from ivvxpi i-J k, and rf a, to eZi r^r 7. t. t. 
should be noted. It seems to indicate the difference between liable to prose- 
cution and liable to punishment ; between being brought before the court and 
being cast into Gehenna. 

The pres. subj. #&v wpoa^frgs means, ' if thou art in the act of offering ' ; 
comp. XV. 14. See Cambridge Biblical Essays t p. 189. 


We may suspect that the next two verses (25, 26) are no 
part of the original Sermon, but come from some other context 
(Lk. xii. 58). They seem to introduce a new and not wholly 
harmonious thought The previous case teaches a man to be 
reconciled to his fellow-man, because God forbids enmity. 
This case teaches a man to be reconciled to his adversary, 
because the adversary may put him in prison. But, taking the 
verses as they are placed here, we may say that they contain a 
parable to enforce one of the lessons of the previous illustration, 
viz. that no time must be lost The connecting link is ' quickly ' 
(raxy). Enmity is hateful to God, therefore put an end to it 
without delay. The offended brother may die, or you may die ; 
and if you both live, the enmity is likely to become more intense ; 
in either case there is a disastrous conclusion. Possibly the 
parable means no more than this: one cannot be too speedy 
in putting an end to bad feeling. And if so, that is the whole 
moral of the parable. But if ' the adversary ' is to be interpreted, 
it would seem to mean, not the offended brother, but the 
offended Father, who has become hostile to one who persists 
in violating His law of love.^ The solemn warning, 'tUl thou 
have paid the last farthing,' points to this ; for any interpretation 
of it as referring to earthly penalties and the evils of litigation 
seems to be inadequate. Thus interpreted the parable says, 
'* Beware of persisting in conduct which must expose you to the 
action of Him who is at once Prosecutor, Witness, Judge, and 
the Executor of the judgment" Nothing is said about the 
possibility or impossibility of payment being made in prison : 
see on iii. 12. The wise and right thing to do is to be recon- 
ciled before being prosecuted. The passage is highly meta- 
phorical, and metaphors must not be pressed. 

The second illustration of the contrast between the Christian 
life and the Jewish ideal is taken from t/te seventh commandment 
(27-30).' This commandment, especially when supplemented 
by the tenth, protected the sanctity of marriage and the peace 
of married life. But the Messiah, while confirming this, again 
sets His own standard of purity beside the old one, and intimates 
that His standard is the true spirit of the old commandments. 
To abstain from even wishing to possess one's neighbour's wife 
is far from being enough. To lust after her, or any woman, is 

^ "The born are to die, and the dead to revive, and the living to be 
judged ; that it may be known that He is the Discemer, and He the Judge, 
and He the Witness, and He the Adversary, and that He is about to judge 
with whom there is no iniquity, nor forgetfulness, nor respect of persons" 
{FirytAboth, iv. 31). 

"We have here another parallel (see on v. 19) with the Testaments ot 
the Xn. Patriarchs : '0 ^x^'' it^iUHav Ka0apd^ 4w dydTji odx ^ ywcuxa tit 
wo/HteUw (Benj\ viii. 2 p). See Charles, p. Ixxix. 

V. lt-48] tH£ MlNtStkV iH GkhiLElS, 6l 

a breach of the commandment. Not only is social purity 
binding on both the married and the unmarried, whether male 
or female, but purity of heart (8) is absolutely indispensable 
for admission to the Kingdom. So indispensable is it, that no 
sacrifice ought to be regarded as too great, if it is the only 
means of securing the necessary cleanness of thought and will.^ 
On the analogy of the right hand, the right eye was regarded 
as the better of the two (i Sam. xi. 2; Zech. xi. 17), and the 
right hand and eye are among the most valuable members 
that could be sacrificed without causing death; they therefore 
signify what is most precious. Like the passage about the 
adversary (25, 26), these verses (29, 30) are highly figurative, 
and we must once more be cautious about drawing inferences 
fipom metaphors. The actual sacrifice of eye or hand would do 
little towards securing purity ; and it is not safe to argue from 
what is said here to the belief that there must be physical 
pains in Gehenna. The 'eye' and 'band' are figurative, 
and therefore the 'whole body' is figurative. See notes on 
xviii. 8, 9. 

The third illustration of the superiority of the Christian ideal 
to the Jewish is taken from the question of divorce (31, 32). 
As being a subject connected with the preceding, illustration it 
comes not inappropriately here, but we may doubt whether it 
was part of the original Sermon. The substance of it, partly in 
the same words, is found again xix. 3-9 ; but in neither place 
does it, according to the existing texts, show that Christ's teaching 
about divorce was superior to that of the stricter Jewish teachers. 
There is grave reason for doubting whether Christ, either in the 
Sermon or elsewhere, ever taught that divorce is allowable when 
the wife has committed adultery. That iropv€ia here and xix. 9 
means adultery (Hos. ii. 5 ; Amos vii. 17) is clear firom the 
context. According to the earliest evidence (Mk. x. 1-12), 
which is confirmed by Lk. xvi. 18, Christ declared that Moses 
allowed divorce as a concession to a low condition of society. 
But there was an earlier marriage law, of Divine authority, 
according to which the marriage tie was indissoluble. To this 
Divine law men ought to return. Teaching such as this is 
entirely in harmony with the teaching about murder (21-24) suid 
about adultery (27, 28), and is above the level of the best Jewish 
teaching. But what is given here (31, 32) and in xix. 9 is not 
above that level. The stricter Rabbis taught that the ' unseemly 
thing ' {axTxyiiutv wpSy/iA — imfudicum negotium^ Tertullian) which 

^ These verses have no parallel in Lk. "It seems to me probable that 
Luke the Physician preferred to leave out the metaphor of amputation** 
(Burkitt, The Gospel History and its Trcmsmissicn^ p. 159). Bat Lk. also 
omits the paragraphs about murder and swearing. 



justified divorce (Deut. xxiv. i) was adultery: and, according 
to Mt., Christ said the same thing. Nothing short of adultery 
justified divorce, but adultery did justify it. It is very improbable 
that Christ did teach this. If we want His true teaching we must 
go to Mk. and Lk., according to whom He declared the indis- 
solubility of the marriage bond. He told His disciples that the 
remarriage of either partner, while the other is living, is adultery.^ 

But it is a violent hypothesis to assume (in the face of all 
external evidence) that * except on account of fornication ' is a 
later interpolation by early scribes (Wright, Synopsis of the Gospels 
in Greeks p. 99). If the interpolation had not already been made 
in the Jewish-Christian authority which Mt used, then we must 
attribute the interpolation to the Evangelist himself. It is clear 
from other cases that he treated his authorities with freedom, and 
he may have felt confident that Christ, while forbidding divorce 
on any other ground, did not mean to forbid it in the case of 
adultery.* Yet, even on the Evangelist's authority, we can 
hardly believe that our Lord, after setting aside the Mosaic 
enactment as an accommodation to low morality, should Himself 
have sanctioned what it allowed. Mark would have no motive 
for omitting the exception, if Christ had made it ; but there 
would be an obvious motive for a Jewish-Christian to insert it, 
as meant, though not reported. 

The fourth illustration is on the subject of oaths ^33-37) ; and 
it is more like the passage on divorce than those on murder and 
adultery. In the cases of murder and adultery Christ interprets 
the Law, and shows how much more ground it covers than 
the Rabbis supposed. In the cases of divorce and oaths Christ 
simply opposes Jewish tradition. The Law said that promises 
to Jehovah, whether oaths or not, must be kept : a man ' must 
do according to all that goeth forth from his mouth' (Num. 
XXX. 2 ; see Gray, ad loc, ; also Barton on Eccles. v. 4). The Jews 
held that only oaths need be kept, and not all of them ; only 
certain forms of swearing were binding. Christ says that such 
distinctions are iniquitous ; all oaths are binding. But no oaths 
ought to be used, because a man's word ought to be enough. 
Oaths and other strong statements have come into use, because 

^ Augustine^s view is this : solius fomicaiionis causa licet uxorem adul- 
Uraffi dimitiere^ sed iim vivente non licet alteram ducere; but he is not 
satisfied with any solution of the difficult question. Yet he would use Mk. 
and Lk. to explain Mt. Qucd subobseure apud Matthaum positum est^ «x- 
posiiuM est apud alios, sicut legitur apud Afarcum et apud Lucam, Tertullian 
is venr decided for this view {Adu, Marc, iv. 34). 

* See Allen, ad, loc,, and art on ' Divorce in Hastings' DCd Driver on 
Deut. xxiv. I and ' Marriage ' in Hastings' DB, ; Edersheim, Life and Times, 
ii. pp. 331 ff. ; Luckock, History of Alarriage \ Watkins» Holy Matrimony \ 
Loisy, Le Discours sur La Montagne, pp. 56-61 ; Wright, Synopsis, 99. 


men are so often liars ; but it is a grievous error to suppose that 
a lie is not sinful, unless it is sworn to. The Jew went beyond 
even this, and held that perjury was not sinfu^ unless the oath 
was taken in a' particular form (xxiiL 16-22). False swearing 
was specially common- among the Jews of the Dispersion engaged 
in trade (Martial, xL 94); and hence the charge given by S. 
James (v. 12), in a passage which strongly resembles this. So 
great had the evil become that the Talmud raises the question 
whether 'Yes' and 'No' are not as binding as oaths: and it 
decides that they are, if they are repeated, as here. Christ does 
not say that anything stronger than ' Yea, yea ' is sinful, but that 
it is, or comes, of what is evil,^ viz. the prevalence of untruthful- 
ness. In the Kingdom God's rule prevails, and all speak the 
truth: oaths would be a senseless profanity. In this world, 
while falsehood remains so common, specially solemn statements 
may sometimes be necessary, and therefore are permissible. God 
Himself had at times recognized this necessity (Lk. i. 73 ; Acts 
ii. 30; Heb. iiL 11, 18, iv. 3, vi. 13-18, vii. 20, 21); and so 
did Jesus, when He responded to the adjuration of the high 
priest (xxvi. 63). Moreover, He frequently strengthened His 
utterances with 'Verily I say unto you'; and Origen remarks 
that Christ's ^Afn^v was an oath. It would seem from passages 
in Philo and from the Book of the Secrets of Enoch (xlix. i) 
that teaching similar to what we have here was not uncommon 
among the Jews. The latter passage runs : " For I swear to you, 
my children, but I will not swear by a single oath, neither by 
heaven, nor by earth, nor by any other creature which God made. 
God said : There is no swearing in Me, nor injustice, but truth. 
If there is no truth in men, let them swear by a word, Yea, yea, 
or Nay, nay. But I swear to you, Yea, yea." Passages from 
Philo are quoted by Charles, ad loc. But it is not probable that 
Christ meant absolutely to forbid all swearing for any purpose 
whatever. It is provided for in the Law. It is expressly com- 
manded, 'Thou shalt swear by His Name ' (Deut. vi. 13, x. 20). 
To swear by idols representing Jehovah (Am. viii. 14) or by 
Baal (Jer. xii. 16) is wrong ; but to swear truthfully in the Name 
of Jehovah brings a blessing (Jer. iv. 2, xii. 16). Indeed, 'every 
one that sweareth by Him shall be commended ' or ' shall glory ' 
(Ps. Ixiii. 11). Christ would not forbid this. 

Jewish casuists sometimes taught that it was oaths in which 
the Divine Name, or some portion of it, was mentioned that were 
binding ; other oaths were less stringent or not binding at all ; 
and the oaths which Christ takes as examples here are such as 

* ' Is of the evil one ' (RV.) makes ^ood sense, but is less probable. Some 
who adopt the neuter explain the ' evil ' as meaning that an oath implies that 
one is not bound to speak the truth unless one swears to one's statement. 


do not name God. These were, therefore, just such oaths as 
many Jews took and broke without scruple. This light taking 
of oaths, even when there is no false swearing, Christ absolutely 
forbids.^ Thus, as in the previous cases, He confirms the letter 
of the Law, but explains and expands the spirit of it The Law 
said, * Ye shall not swear by My Name falsely ' (Lev. xix. 1 2), 
and Christ points out that the way to avoid false swearing is to 
be content with simple affirmations and negations. He cannot 
be admitted to the Kingdom in which truth reigns who holds 
that he need not speak truth, unless he confirms his word with 
an oath. The absence of an oath in no way lessens the obliga- 
tion to speak the truth. 

It is an interesting question whether S. James (v. 12) has not preserved 
our Lord's words more accurately than Mt does here. ' But let your Yea 
be Yea, and your Nay» Nay' (^w 9i bfiQw t6 ral pul, xal rb oO o£f). A 
number of early writers, who possibly did not know the Epistle of James, 
nevertheless agree with his wording m inserting the article before pal and 
06. So Just. A^I. i. 16 ; Ciem, Horn, iii. 55, xix. 2 ; Epiph. Bar, 
xix. 6. Comp. Clem. Alex. Strom, viL 8 (a valuable commentary on the 
passage, showing that the true Christian is so addicted to truth that he does 
not need an oath) and vii. 1 1 (where he has the article with rcU, but not with 
cXi), The difference between the two forms of wording seems to be this. 
' Let your speech be, Yea, yea ; Nay, nay ; and whatsoever is more than 
this is of evil ' may mean, ' Be content with simply affirming and denying : 
oaths imply untrustworthiness on one side and distrust on the other.' ' I^ 
your Yea be a Yea, and your Nay a Nay ; that ye fall not under judgment' 
appears to mean, 'Be straightforward; do not shuffle and try to say both 
Yes and No, or Yes to-day and No to-morrow. Then you will have no need 
of an oath, and will be guiltless before God and man.' It is possible to 
bring Jas. v. 12 into harmony with Mt v. 37 by translating, ' Let yours be 
the Yea, yea and the Nay, nay ' (see WH. text and RV. margin) ; but the 
usual translation b simpler and more probable. See J. B. Iilayor on Jas. 
V. 12, p. 155, and Knowling, pp. 135, 153; also Zann on Mt. v. 37, pp. 
244-246, and Dalman, fVords, pp. 206, 227. For Jewish condemnation of 
swearing see Ecclus. xxiii. 9-1 1, and comp. Eccles. ix. 2 ; but in the latter 
passage ' he that feareth an oath ' may mean the man who is afraid to swear 
to wluit he says, because he knows that it is false. In the other pairs in the 
series the good is placed first. 

The fifth illustration of the superiority of the Christian ideal 
is taken (38-42) from t^ law of retaliation^ which was affirmed 
Ex. xxi. 23-25; Lev. xxi. 17-21 ; Deut xix. 18-21. Neverthe- 
less, the spirit of revenge was forbidden (Lev. xix. 18; Prov. 
XX. 22, xxiv. 29); vengeance belongs to God (Deut xxxii. 35; 
Ps. xciv. i); and the 'meekness' of Moses was praised (Num. 
xii. 3), where the meaning of not resenting injuries seems to be 
imphed; comp. Prov. xx. 22; Lam. iii. 30. But the Jews too 

' Josephus {B, J. II. viii. 6, 7) says that the Essenes regarded their word 
as stronger than an oath, and that th^ avoided swearing as worse than 
perjury. Yet in the next section he says that those who became Essenes were 
required to take tremendous oaths {JipKWi ^pucibd^ts). 


often remembered the letter of the Law and thought little of the 
necessary limitations. Nevertheless such a passage as Ecclus. 
xxviiL 1-7 shows that some thoughtful Jews felt that the principle 
of retaliation was out of harmony with the other principle of 
loving one's neighbour as oneselif (Lev. xix. 18). And there 
are passages in the Testaments of the XIL Patriarchs which 
give similar evidence {fiad v. 5, vi 3, 6).i 

But the lex talionis is too much in harmony with natural 
feelings of vengeance and man's rough ideas of justice not to 
be very prevalent And in a primitive state of society it is 
beneficial, as restricting the wildness of revenge. If a wrong- 
doer must " have as good as he gave," it is best that the law 
should inflict it Ex. xxi. 24, which Christ here quotes, is 
thought to belong to the oldest part of Jewish law, the Book 
of the Covenant And the lex talionis is found in the Code 
of Hammurabi. " If a man has caused the loss of a gentleman's 
eye, one shall cause his eye to be lost If a man has made the 
tooth of a man that is his equal to fall out, one shall make his 
tooth fall out. If a man has struck a gentleman's daughter and 
... if that woman has died, one shall put to death his daughter. 
If a builder has caused the son of the owner of the house to 
die^ one shall put to death the son of that builder" (^ 196, 200, 
210, 230). See also Monier-WilKams, Indian Wisdom^ p. 273. 

Just as Christ condemned the casuistry of the Scribes as to 
what oaths were binding and what not, and charged His disciples 
to be content with simple affirmations and denials, so here He 
condemns a similar casuistry as to what penalties should be 
exacted for what injuries, and charges His disciples to be 
content to receive injuries without taking vengeance. But, as 
in the one case we need not suppose that He forbade the use 
of specially solemn affirmations, when (the world being what 
it is) something more than a man's word is necessary, so in 
this case we cannot suppose that He condemned the laws 
which (the world being what it is) are necessary for the pre- 
servation of society. What He condemns is, not the prosecution 
of those who are guilty of robbery and violence, but the spirit 
of revenge.' The law of the Kingdom is not selfishness, but love. 

^ We may compare the well-known story of Pericles, who allowed a man 
to abuse him all day long and all the way home, and then sent his servant 
to li|^t the man back to his house (Plutarch, Per, 5). Phodon, when he 
was condemned to death, was asked what message he had to send to his son 
Phocus, replied : *'Only that he bear no grudge against the Athenians," for 
putting him to death. 

* Posse pecctUutn amore potius vindicaHy quam impunitum relinqui (Aug. 
De Serm, Dom, I. xx. 62). Plurimum interest quo animo quisque parcat, 
Sicut enim est aHquando misericordia puniens^ ita et crudelitas parcem 
(Sp. 153). 


Therefore, in causing transgressors to be punished, Ihose who 
have been injured by them must have no feeling of revenge. 
They ought to be fulfilling a sad duty, not gratifying angry 
feeling. So far as their own personal feeling is concerned, they 
ought to be quite ready that the injury should be repeated. 
"Why are we angry?*' asks Epictetus (Discourses^ L x8). "Is 
it because we value so much the things of which these men rob 
us? Do not admire your clothes, and then you will not be 
angry with the thieves. They are mistaken about good and 
evil. Ought we then to be angry with them, or to pity them?" 
'Resist not evil, or the evil man,' says our Lord;^ and His 
Apostle shows why this is right; because Move sufTereth long 
and endureth all things' (i Cor. xiii. 4, 7). Where resistance 
b a duty for the sake of others and for the evil-doer himself, 
it must be done in the spirit of love, not of anger and revenge 
(see Cyprian, De bono patientuB). 

And there are cases in which the injured person is under 
no obligation to prosecute, and in which the abstention from 
retaliation is a telling rebuke, more likely to bring the wrong- 
doer to repentance than any penalty would be. Resistance can 
only subdue, gentleness may convert; it is the spirit of the 
martyrs, and martyrs have often touched the hearts of their 
executioners (Pdre Xyxdsya^ Jksus Christy p. 358).* 

Our Lord gives five examples : assault, lawsuit, impressment, 
begging, and borrowing. They are all figurative. They do not 
give rules for action, but indicate temper. To interpret them as 
rules to be kept literally in the cases specified is to make our 
Lord's teaching a laughing-stock to the common sense of the 
world. Are we to surrender our property to any one who 
claims it, and to give to every beggar, thus encouraging fraud 
and idleness? No; but we ought to be ready to give to all 
who are in need, and our reason for refusing to give must 
not be that we prefer to keep all that we have got. See notes 
on Lk. vi. 27-31 in the Int Crit, Commentary^ and Deissmann, 
Bible Studies^ p. 86. As Augustine points out, we are not told 
to give everything that is asked for, but to every one who asks. 
We may give him a wholesome word, or may pray for him. 

^ rjf wotnfpf is probably neuter : if it were masculine it would mean Satan 
rather than an evil man. 

' Comp. the stoi^ of the thief bringing back Gichtel's cloak, when the 
latter callra out to him that he might have his coat as well (Hase, GeschichU 
fesu, p. 501 ). With rfp alroOrri o'e 66$ comp. rop^ere varrl dwOpdnrtfi ip dyaBf 
KapSiqi (Testament of Zebulon, vii. 2 ; Charles, p. Izxz) ; also, licfnfp ^Xc/S^/mvot 
fiil dTOPolpout Kol nil drotfTp^^s t6 rpiffiawAp cov dwb wrtaxov* drd ieofihov 
/til dwooTpi}^ 6^<i^\/i6p, Kal /ij Btfi t&wop dv$p<l^if KarapdcaffOai ^e (Ecclus. 
iv. 4, 5, xxix. 2) ; also, " Be pliant of disposition and yielding to imprc 
ment " {Firq* Abotk, in. 18). 


Christ did not consent -when He was asked to interfere about 
the inheritance ; but He gave a wholesome rebuke and warning 
(Lk. xiL 13-15). 

The sixth illustration of the contrast between the Messiah's 
teaching and that of the Jews is taken (43-47) from the law of 
lave. The Jews regarded the obligation to love one's neighbour 
(Lev. xix. 18) as binding ; but they asked, Who is my neighbour? 
And they raised this question, not in order to extend the circle 
of those whom they were to love, but in order to see who it was 
that they were not bound to love, and therefore were free to 
hate. They were bound to love, but only within their own 
nation. No Gentile was a 'neighbour.' In Ecclus. xviii. 13, 
where the limitless character of the Divine mercy is contrasted 
with the limitations of human mercy, 'neighbour' appears to 
mean Israelite, and perhaps not even all who are such. And, 
although the words 'hate thine enemy' are not in the O.T., 
yet the spirit of them might seem to be there. 'Thou shalt 
not take vengeance nor bear any grudge against t?u children of 
thy people^ (Lev. xix. 18) might easily suggest that vengeance on 
foreigners was permitted^ if not enjoined; and the treatment 
decreed for Ammonites, Moabites, and Amadekites (Deut. xxiii. 3, 
xzv. 19; Ezra ix. i, 12; Neh. xiii. i, 2; Ex. xvii. 14) would 
encourage this view. The stringent separation between Israel 
and all heathen nations which was insisted upon of necessity, 
to avoid the contamination of idolatrous immorality, would 
readily confirm the belief that the loyal servant of Jehovah was 
bound to hate all who were both God's enemies and his own ; 
and it was convenient to assume that his own enemies were 
God's enemies also. To this day, racial distinctions, even 
within the same commonwealth, are among the gravest causes 
of strife and bloodshed. See J. B. Mozley, Lectures on the O.T, 
pp. 180-200. 

The Jews themselves sometimes rose above this feeling 
(Job xxxi. 29; Prov. xviL 5, xxiv. 29; Ps. vii. 4, 5, xxxv. 12-14). 
An enemy's beast was to be helped (Ex. xxiii. 4, 5), and some 
taught that if both an enemy and a friend were in need, the 
enemy was to be helped first, in order to conquer bad feeling. 
The Book of the Secrets of Enoch says : " When you might have 
vengeance, do not repay, either your neighbour or your enemy " 
(1. 4). Our Lord enlarged the meaning of 'neighbour,' and 
narrowed that of 'enemy,' by abolishing the element of race- 
distinction from both. 'Neighbour' embraces every human 
being; 'enemy' includes no one but those who persecute the 
followers of Christ for their righteousness (10-12). And the 
way to treat such enemies as these is to pray for them. 
"He who can pray for his enemies can do anything for 


them." ^ Thus, as in the other cases, Christ does not set up a 
new commandment in opposition to the old: He shows that 
what looks like a new commandment is really contained in the 
old, when it is rightly understood. * Thou shalt love thy neigh- 
bour as thyself ' covers everything, when 'neighbour' is rightly 
understood ; for a man does not cease to be a neighbour or a 
brother because he has become hostile. A true son of God (45) 
recognizes even the most erring of his fellow-men as still mem- 
bers of the same family. From this it follows that what is the 
supreme mark of affection — love and loving prayer, is to be 
given to the most noxious of opponents— religious persecutors.^ 
' Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you.' 

That is a severe test of loyalty ; and Christ at once proceeds 
to justify it by the eicample of God Himself (45, 48). He rains 
His benefits on His worst opponents, who are still His children, 
although greatly erring; and they must not be hated by His 
other children. 'An eye for an eye' is a low principle, but 
hatred for hatred is diabolical. Good-will must not allow itself 
to be checked by ill-will ; and the man who r^ards forgiveness 
as weakness can hardly be sincere in asking God to forgive him. 
It is the birthright of God's children to be peacemakers (9), 
and peacemakers do not feel enmity. They sAmv their parentage 
by their moral resemblance to the God who is Love (oinos 
yivrfaOt vlot).* See Montefiore, pp. 525 f. 

From this follows the law of perfection (48) with which this 
section of the Sermon ends. ^Ye therefore shall be perfect.' 
There is strong emphasis on the ^Ye' (lo-co-^c oSv {f/ieU tcXcuh), 
as compared with the toll-collectors and the heathen, on whom 
the claims of love are less. The future tense is equivalent to 
a command, but implies perhaps that, as true sons of such a 
Father, they are sure to imitate Him ; and to imitate Him in 
loving enemies, for the majority of mankind are His enemies. 
Yes, 'perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect' The ideal 
is stupendous, and it allows for continual progress both in time 
and in eternity. Life both in this world and in the other is 
growth, and this law of perfection provides for infinite moral 

^ Resch quotes from Didasc. v. I5) p. 31 5» ed. Lagarde: did toOto koI ip 
Ti} e^7Y«X/f|) irpO€lpiiiKa* rpixrei^cir^c inrkp tQ9 ixBpQv ^/iu9* Kal fuucdpioi ol 
T€9$outrr€s vepl rris tQp dwlffrwp dvtaXHat {Agrapha^ p. 137). Contrast the 
definition of justice given by Polemarchus in Plat. Repub, i. 332 D. 

' This was what the first martyr, Stephen, did ; Acts vii. 60. Comp. 
" If any one seeketh to do evil unto you, ao you in well-doing pray for him " 
{Joseph xviii. 2). The words ' bless them that curse you, do good to them 
tnat hate you' (AV.) are here an interpolation from Lk. vi. 27, 28. See 
small print below. 

' For this sense of ylfeffSat, * prove yoursel/es to be,' comp. x. 16, zxiv. 
44 ; Lk. vi. 36, zii. 40 ; Jn. zx. 27. For the moral likeness between parent 
and child comp. Jn. viii. 39-44 ; i Cor. iv. 14-17. 


growth. The context seems to show that perfection in love is 
specially meant ; but that is much the same as saying that the 
perfection of the Divme nature is meant (i Jn. iv. 8, 16). To 
return evil for good is devilish; to return good for good is 
human ; to return good for evil is divine. To love as God loves 
is moral perfection, and this perfection Christ tells us to aim at. 
How serenely He gives us this overwhelming command 1 He 
knows that He can help us to obey it Comp. Gen. xviL i ; 
Lev. xix. 2; Deut xviii. 13; Wisd. ziL 19. 

For evidence that ML has here (39, 40, 42, 44, 48) preserved the original 
wording better than Lk. (vi. 29, 30, 27, 28, 35, 32, 33, 36) see Hamack, TAs 
Sayings of Jesus^ pp. 58-63. A couple of instances may serve as evidence : 
(i) Lk.'s uterary improvement of *love your enemies and pray for your 
persecutors' into a climax of four gradations, and (2) his changing * tax- 
collectors' and 'heathen,' which would hardly be intelligible to Gentile 
readers, into the more general ' sinners.' 

In the AV. the text of ver. 44 has been enlarged from Lk. The RV. gives 
the true text (K B some cursives, some Old Latin texts, Syr-Sin. Syr-Cur. 
Boh., Athenag. Orig. Cypr.). So also in ver. 47 'the Gtotiles' (K B DZ) is 
to be preferred to 'the toll-collectoxs' (E K L M etc.). 

This (ver. 46) is the first use in Mt. of the word reXwrcu, which is un- 
fortunately rendered ' publican ' even in the RV. The publicani were those 
who fanned the Roman taxes, i.e, paid the Roman Government a large sum 
for the right to whatever such and such taxes might yield. But the reX^vcu 
of the Synoptists are the poriitores, the people who collected the taxes for 
the publicani. Moreover, ' publican ' in English suggests the keeper of a 
public-house. See Hastings' DB,^ Extra vol. pp. 394-^. 

Both Syr-Sin. and k (Bobiensis, one of the most important of the Old 
Latin texts) omit ver. 47, possibly because it seemed to be out of harmony 
with xxiii. 7 and Lk. x. 4. The substitution of ' friends ' (E K L M etc.) for 
' brethren ' (K B D Z) is less easy to understand. Possibly ' friends ' seemed 
to be a better antithesis to ' enemies ' (44). 

In ch. V. we find these characteristic expressions: vpovipxt^Oai (i), 6 
war^p b iw roit o6pe»ois (16, 45), ipp^dij (21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43), Tpoa<p4p€i» 
(23, 24), r6rf (24), ifu^tw (34, 35). Of phrases which are peculiar to 
Mt. we have ^ poffiXtla tQp odpoyuw (3, 10, 19, 20), and 6 frwHip 6 otpdjuot 
(48), which occurs 7 times in this Gospel, and on which see Dalman, The 
WoreU ofjesus^ p. 189. The latter phrase is closely akin to 6 r. 6 ^ rocii 
p^/KVMt, which occurs 13 times in Mt. and elsewhere only Mk. xi. 25. In 
ver. 48, h oipdwiot is the right reading (K B E L U Z, a f Vulg. Syr-Cur. Arm. 
Aeth. Clem. Orig. Cjrpr.). While almost all N.T. writers use odpopSs more 
often than odpawol (Hebrews and 2 Peter being exceptions), Mt. uses the 
plural more than twice as often as the singular (5^ to 27 times), and he uses 
the word much more often than any other writer. "The plural is not 
frequent in the LXX : it only occurs about 50 times against more than 600 
occurrences of the singular. It is most common in the Psalms, where it is 
used about 30 times'' (Hawkins, ffara Synoptica^ p. 41). The following are 
found nowhere else in the N.T. : elprjpoiroiis (9), IQra (18), dtaXXi^ro'eii' (24), 
tApoev (25), iTiopK€U (33), pJXiw (41), fKivl^ety (39 and xxvi. 67). 

The AV. is inaccurate and inconsistent in translating Xt^rot 'candle' 
(ver. 15) and 'light' (vi. 22) ; the RV. has 'lamp' in both places. 


"VX 1-18. The Christian Life contrasted with faulty Jewish 


Having compared the Jewish ideal, as taught by the Scribes, 
with the Christian ideal, as sketched in the Beatitudes, our Lord 
now goes on to contrast the ordinary Jewish practice, as exhibited 
in the conduct of the Pharisees, with the conduct which He 
requires. The Pharisees claimed to be, and were commonly 
allowed to be, patterns for all who desired to be strict observers 
of the Law. Christ does not mention them by name, but speaks 
only of * the hypocrites.' From chapter xxiii. it is evident who 
are meant, and even without that chapter the meaning would not 
be doubtful (xv. 7, xxii. 18). The * righteousness ' here (i) looks 
back to ' the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees ' (v. 20), 
and signifies external conduct, deeds in observance of the Law. 
To do these in order to be seen of men is fatal : they at once 
lose their goodness, and the doer of them loses all merit and all 
reward from God: This principle is stated quite simply, and is 
then illustrated by three things which are regarded as among the 
chief elements of religion, alms^ prayer^ and fasting (Tob. xii. 8), 
and which, in their wider sense, do cover a large sphere of duty. 
Alms may represent our relations to men, prayer our relations to 
God, and fasting our discipline of ourselves. And, if we omit 
the special directions about prayer (7-15), which perhaps are no 
part of the original Sermon, for they spoil the balance of the 
parts, these three illustrations are set forth in the same way. In 
each case we have : * Do not be hypocritical, but,' etc. 

The opening warning, * Take heed ' (wpoo-cxcrc), shows how 
great the danger is. Hypocrisy is one of the most common and 
the most subtle of foes. The motives, even for our best deeds, 
are apt to be mixed, and the thought of men's admiration is 
often one of them. A very little of this may spoil everything. 
In this advertising age, in which a man hardly needs to sound 
his own trumpet, because there are so many who are ready to 
sound it for him, the danger is greatly increased. In this respect. 
Parish Magazines have a great deal to answer for. Christians, 
who never would yield to the glaring hypocrisy of pretending to 
be benevolent when they are not, have the sincerity of their 
benevolence marred by the knowledge that it is sure to be pub- 
lished. The light of a Christian character will shine before men 
and win glory for God without the artificial aid of public advertise- 
ment. Ostentatious religion may have its reward here, but it 
receives none from God. 

Ought the thought of God's reward to come in? In the 
highest characters at their best it will not. They will act 
righteously for righteousness' sake, as loyal members of the 


Kingdom, as true children of a heavenly Father. But the highest 
characters take time to develop; and, even when they are 
established, they are not always at their best. During the time 
of growth, and in moments of weakness later, the thought of 
the rewards which God has promised to those who obey Him 
may come in as a Intimate support and stimulus. Those are 
no friends of human nature who tell us that a religion which 
" bribes ** men by the offer of a reward thereby debases morality. 
Everything depends upon the character of the reward. Men 
may have degrading ideas of the joys of the righteous in this 
world and in the next ; but such ideas are no part of the little 
which God has revealed to us on the subject. There is nothing 
degrading in working for the reward of a good conscience here, 
and of increased holiness hereafter, both enriched by God's love 
and blessing. See on x. 42. 

The first verse is an introduction to the whole triplet, and 
must not be restricted to the subject of alms. ' Righteousness ' 
covers alms, prayer, and fasting. Each of the separate subjects 
begins with *when' (orav, 2, 5, x6). 

The reading, ' do not your righteousness before men ' (RV.) is right, rather 
than 'do not your alms before men' (AV.). 'Righteousness' i^iKoiociLnni) 
was sometimes used in the sense of almsgiving {{Kcnixwrtmi) or any kind of 
benevolence; and some copyists, thinking that it had that meaning here, 
changed the more comprehensive term into the narrower one. * Righteous- 
ness is the reading of KBD, Syr-Sin. Latt., Orig-Lat. Hil. Aug. Hieron., 
and is adopted by almost all editors. The agreement of K' {i6atp) with Syr- 
Cur, (your gifts) is curious. 2^hn suggests that the three readings are 
different oral tiaiislations of the Aramaic {Einleiiung^ ii. p. 311). 

In all three cases the picture drawn of the ostentation of the 
Pharisees is very graphic. 'Sound a trumpet' is probably 
figurative, for no such custom seems to be known. ^ This verse 
tells us that almsgiving was part of the service in the synagogue, 
and there we may believe that our Lord gave what He could out 
of His slender means. There is a veiled irony in the declaration 
'They have received their reward,* and this adds to its impressive 
severity. 'They receive their pay then and there, and they 
receive it in fuU (dw^owi tov fiurOov avriuv): God owes them 
nothing. They were not giving, but buying. They wanted the 
praise of men, they paid for it, and they have got it. The trans- 
action is ended and they can claim nothing more.' But their 
loss is not the less, because they do not know what they have 

^ Zahn compares Juvenal's bucina fanuB (xiv. 152), and bucmator ex^ 
isiimaiumis tnea (Gc. Fam. xvi. 21. 2). Some Old Latin texts had debiuitutre 
or btuinare here (Tert. Vtrg. vel. 13 ; Cypr. Test. iii. 40). 

■The meaning may be, "they can sign the receipt for their reward"; 
drox^s: receipt. Deissmann, Bible Studies^ p. 229. Lk. has what seems to 
be an echo of this, vi. 24. 


lost' In all three cases (2, 5, 16) this stem sarcasm is introduced 
with 'Verily I say unto you,' as something that is specially to be 
laid to heart. There is a striking parallel to this condemnation 
of hypocrisy in a saying of Plato preserved by Plutarch ; that it 
is the extremity of iniquity to seem to be righteous without being 
so {iaxdrrii dSuc/as c&ai Sokciv Seicaiov fjurf ovra). S. Basil quotes 
this in Homily xxii., on the study of pagan literature. It is 
possible that * Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand 
doeth ' was a current proverb.^ See Montefiore, p. 531. 

Of the high and often exaggerated views which Jews had of 
the duty and advantages of almsgiving we have plenty of examples 
in Tobit (iv. 7-1 1, xii. 8-10; xiv. 9-12) and in Ecclesiasticus 
(iii. 14, 30, iv. 3, 4, vii. 10, xvi. 14, xxix. 12, xl. 24). Our 
Lord leaves unnoticed the doctrine that alms can remove the 
consequences of sin, and even purge men from the stain of sin. 
He is content to insist that almsgiving must be done in God's 
sight, without thought of man's praise. Purity of motive was the 
essential thing, and, if that was secured, the idea of buying 
pardon for sin would lose its hold.^ Christ had other ways of 
teaching how sin and its effects could be removed. 

The problem in our day is of a different character. The 
peril of ostentatious giving may be as great as ever ; but, while 
the heresy that alms can cancel sin is less common, the rigid 
orthodoxy of the economist is very prevalent, and there is 
danger lest, through fear of pauperizing the recipients, there may 
at last be no givers. Christ has not cancelled the blessing 
promised to the man that ' considereth the poor,' nor the 
principle that ' he that hath pity upon the poor lendeth to the 
Lord ' (Ps. xli. i ; Pr. xix. 1 7). He declared that treasure may 
be laid up in heaven by a benevolent use of wealth on earth 
(20), and He told the rich young man that he could have this 
treasure by distributing his wealth to the poor (xix. 21). 'It is 
more blessed to give than to receive ' (Acts xx. 35) ; and what 
is given is given to Him (xxv. 40). 

' Openly ' (^ rt} ipapepif) is wanting in K B D, Vulg. Boh. Cypr., and i« 
omitted as an intexpolation by almost all editors. But it is ancient, for it is 
in the Old Latin and Old Syriac. If it is omitted , iv rtp Kpvirr<p may be 
taken with dirodiixrei : * and thy Father who seeth will recompense thee in 
secret ' ; thy reward will be as unknown to the world as thy benevolence. 

^ The Talmud says that Rabbi Jannai, seeing a man giving alms in public, 
said ; ** Thou hadst better not have given at all, than to have bestowed alms 
so openly and pat the poor man to shame." Rabbi Eliasar said : " He who 
gives alms in secret is greater than Moses." 

^ Yet even Leo the Great seems to be held by it : '* By pniyer we seek to 
propitiate God, by fasting we extinguish the lusts of the flesh, by alms we 
redeem our sins " {Sermon zv. 4). 


Zahn contends for this, and Bengel seems to imply it» but the RV. does not 
admit it to the margin. ' Thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of 
the just ' (Lk. xiv. 14) seems to imply in the sight of the saints of all ages, 
and this may have suggested ' openly.' 

The same principle is given with regard to prayer. We need 
not suppose that the Pharisees went out into the streets to say 
their prayers, but that, when they were in a public place at the 
hour of prayer, they were ostentatious in performing their 
devotions. They were glad to be seen praying, and chose a 
conspicuous place. As in almsgiving, it is not &e being seen, 
but the wish to be seen, and to be seen in order to be admired, 
that is condemned. Of all hypocrisies, that of pretending to 
have intercourse with God, and of making a parade of such, 
intercourse, is one of the worst Christ of course does not 
condemn public worship : it is saying private prayers in needless 
publicity, in order to gain a reputation for special sanctity, that 
is denounced.^ 

What follows (7-15) is manifestly no part of the original 
sermon. It is not in harmony with the context, which treats of 
the contrast between Pharisaic hypocrisy and Christian sincerity, 
and it spoils the symmetry of the three paragraphs on alms, 
prayer, and fasting, extending the one on prayer out of all 
proportion to the other two. Here we may be sure that Mt. has 
inserted sayings on prayer which were uttered on a different 
occasion, or on several different occasions. It was quite natural 
to do so. The Evangelist would feel that a discourse which was 
to serve as a summary of the Messiah's teaching ought to include 
the Messiah's pattern Prayer. 

These special directions about prayer b^in with an error, 
not of the Pharisees, but of the heathen. The exact meaning 
of the word translated * use vain repetitions ' (ySaTToAoyiyo-ip-e) is 
uncertain, but it is probably intended to imitate unintelligible 
sounds, and to refer to the repetition of forms of prayer without 
attending to what one is saying. ' Much speaking ' (TroXvXoyia) 
is not necessarily synonymous with *vain repetitions.' There 
may be lengthy petitions which are not unintelligent rehearsals 
of forms of words. What is condemned is the idea that God 
needs to be worried, and can be worried, into granting prayers, 
and that petitions, if repeated many times, are more likely to be 
answered than a petition said only once.' We are not to suppose 

^ The figurative meaning of r6 rQ,^Mb» ffov need not be excluded. Praying 
in the privacy of one's own heart, and closing the door against disturbing 
thoughts, may be part of the lesson derived from ver. 6 ; but there is perhaps 
a reference to 2 Kmgs iv. 33. 

'Contrast the short prayer of Elijah (i Kings xviii. 36, 37) with Baal's 

Cophets crying 'O Baal, hear us' from morning until noon. Cornelius k 
ipide compares those who use a futile profusion of words in prayer, ** as 


that prayers are incantations and act upon God like a charm, 
compelling Him to do what He is unwilling to do. And just as 
Christ does not condemn public prayer, but praying in public in 
order to win esteem, so here He does not condemn all repetition 
in prayer, — for He Himself used the same words again and 
again in Gethsemane (xxvi. 44 ; Mk. xiv. 39), — but superstitious 
and profane repetition. We repeat supplications, not in order to 
secure God's attention, as if He might grant at the third 
supplication what He refused at the first ; but in order to secure 
our own attention. God is always ready to listen to His children's 
needs ; but they are not always attending to what they say when 
they bring their needs before Him. Moreover, they have not 
always prepared their hearts for the reception of the blessings 
for which diey ask. For the remedying of these two defects the 
repetition of the same words may be useful. Prayer, and the 
repetition of prayers, make it possible for us to receive what we 
pray for. We are not moving God towards us ; for that there is 
no need : we are raising ourselves towards Him. '* Prayer calms 
and purifies the heart, and makes it more capacious for receiving 
the Divine gifts. God is always ready to give us His light, but 
we are not always ready to receive " (Aug. De Serm. Dam, il 
iiL 14). By prayer we open channels through which blessings, 
which are always ready, may flow. 

In order to teach His disciples how much may be prayed 
for in a few simple words, the Messiah gives them the model 
Prayer, which shows all mankind why, and for what, and in 
what spirit, they ought to pray.^ It translates into human 
language the ' groanings which cannot be uttered ' in which the 
Spirit makes intercession for us. Even if it were true that for 
each of the petitions in the Prayer parallels can be found in 
Jewish prayers, the Prayer as a whole would still remain with- 
out a rival. But it is not true. Real parallels to ' Thy will be 
done' and to * Give us day by day our daily bread ' have yet to 
be found ; and some of the parallels to the other petitions are 
perhaps later than the Prayer and may be taken from it. Yet 
it would have been surprising if all the petitions in the Prayer 
had been new; if in the prayers that had been in use among 

if b^ this their rhetoric they^ would give God information concerning His own 
afiaiis, and would bend Him to concede what they ask." See Augustine's 
letter to Anicia Faltonia Proba on the subject of prayer {Ep, 130) : Aliud 
est sermo mu/ius, aliud diuturnm affecius, Absit ah oraticne tnuUa locutio ; 
sed nan desit multa precatio, Comp. Ekrcles. v. 2. 

^ For the abundant literature on the Lord's Prayer, and for the discussion 
of literary and critical questions respecting the two forms which have come 
down to us, see commentaries on Matthew and Luke, and articles in Diction- 
aries of the Bible ; alio Chase, Tk$ Lor^s Pr^§r in iki Early CMurek 



God's people there had been nothing that God's Son could use 
again for the edification of His Church. The Prayer is the 
outcome of the religious experience of mankind, culminating in 
the experience of the Son of Man. Such a Prayer would be 
likely to contain things both new and old. 

The form given here and that given by Lk. (xi. 1-4) can 
hardly both be original, and it is probable that both were 
modified by tradition before they were written down. Forms of 
prayer almost invariably undergo change. And Christ's charge 
in giving the Prayer does not forbid this. He says : ' Thus ' 
(ourcDf), ' after this manner * (not, * in these words ' ), * therefore, 
pray ye^ The emphasis is on ' thus ' and on ' ye.' In this simple, 
trustful, comprehensive manner, so different from the useless 
repetitions of the heathen, the children of the true God are to 

But, although we cannot be sure that the form here is nearer 
to the original Prayer than the shorter form in Lk., the judgment 
and experience of Christendom (from the first century onwards) 
has decided that the form in Mt. best answers to the needs of 
Christians, whether for public or for private use. 

The LortPs Prayer. 

The Prayer is not only an authoritative form of devotion, 
it is also a summary and a pattern. 

It is a form^ stamped with Christ's authority,^ which any one 
can use and know that he is expressing his needs in a becoming 
manner. There is nothing in it that is either distinctly Jewish 
or distinctly Christian. Any Theist, of any race, or age, or 
condition, can employ it, just in proportion to his belief. A 
Christian's knowledge of its meaning grows with his spiritual 
experience. In giving this Prayer, Christ has sanctioned the 
principle of forms of prayer, and has also supplied a form which 
is always safe. 

It is a summary of all other prayers, although it does not 
supersede them.^ It covers all earthly and spiritual needs, and 
gives expression to all heavenly aspirations. 

And it is a pattern for all prayers. It shows what supplica- 
tions may be made, and in what spirit they ought to be made. 
We may pray for all that tends to the glory of God or the good 
of man, and the glory of God comes first ; and our aim must be 

^ But it is not a form which Christ ever used, or could use. He never 
asked for, or could need, forgiveness (Steinbeck, Das gottliche Selbstbewussi- 
seinJesUf p. 26). 

^ Tertullian calls it breviarium toUus evangelii {De Orai, i) ; Augustine 
says that there is no lawful petition that is not covered by it {Ep. 130). 


that His will may be done in us, not that it may be changed 
in accordance with ours. 

Just as there is want of agreement as to the number of the 
Beatitudes, so there is want of agreement as to the number of 
petitions in the Prayer. Some make five, some six, and some 
seven. Seven is an attractive number, and it is obtained by 
counting ' Lead us not into temptation but deliver us ' as two 
separate petitions. The six petitions are reduced to five by 
regarding ' Hallowed be Thy Name ' as an expression of praise 
or reverence rather than a petition, like ' Blessed be the Lord 
God of Israel' But the prayer is best regarded as consisting of 
two equal parts, each containing three petitions. It will then be 
found that the two triplets correspond.^ 

Our Father which art in heaven, 
Hallowed be Thy Name, 
Thy Kingdom come, 
Thy Will be done, 

as in heaven, so on earth. 
Our daily bread 

give us this day : 
And forgive us our debts, 

as we also have forgiven our debtors : 
And lead us not into temptation, 

but deliver us from the evil one. 

As in the case of the Decalogue and of the Two Great 
Commandments (xxii. 40), the first part refers to God, the 
second to man. In the first three petitions we seek the glory 
of our heavenly Father, in the last three the advantage of 
ourselves and our fellows. But there is no sharp line of separa- 
tion between these two. The glory of God is a blessing to His 
children, and what benefits them is a glory to their heavenly 
Father. Thus, while the first three petitions show the end 
which we should have in view — the accomplishment of God's 
Glory, Kingdom, and Will, the last three show the means — 
provision, pardon, and protection.. 

The two triplets correspond thus. The first petition is 
addressed to God as our Father, the second as our King, the 
third as our Master. We ask our Father for sustenance, our 
King for pardon, our Master for guidance and guardianship. 
The transition from the one triplet to the other, from man's 
regard for God to God's care for man, is made in the third 

^ Mt. is fond ot arrangements in sevens, and still more fond of arran^- 
ments in threes. It is as probable that he thought of two triplets as that he 
thought of one sevenfold prayer. In Lk. xi. 2-4 there are five petitions, 
according to the true text. See Bruce, The Training cf the Twelve^ p. 53. 


petition, which would raise earth to heaven by securing that 
God's rule should be equally complete in both. And in each 
triplet there is progression. In the first, the hallowing of God's 
Name leads to the coming of the Kingdom, and the coming of 
the Kingdom to the perfect fulfilment of God's Will. In the 
second, the obtaining of good is followed by the removal of evil, 
past, present, and future. This marvellous proportion and 
development cannot be accidental; and, to whatever extent 
old material has been used in this Prayer, it was composed in 
the spirit of Him who said, ' Behold I make all things new ' 
(Rev. xxi. s). 

Our Father which art in heaven* In the Old Testament God 
is the Father of the Jewish nation (Deut. xxxii. 6; Is. Ixiii. 16; 
Jer. iii. 4, 19, xxxi. 9 ; Mai. i. 6, ii. 10). In the Apocrypha He 
is spoken dt as the Father of individuals (Wis. ii. 16, xiv. 3; 
Ecdus. xxiii. i, 4, 11. zo ; Tob. xiii. 4). They are His offspring, 
made in His image, and are the objects of His loving care. But 
the New Testament carries us further than this, to a Fatherhood 
which, however, as yet is not universal. *As many as receive 
the Son, to them gave He the right to become children of God, 
even to them that believe on His Name' (Jn. i. 12). The 
address, *Our Father,' expresses our confidence that we shall be 
heard, and heard for others as well as for ourselves. We belong 
to a great family, and there must be no selfishness in our 
prayers; the blessings for which we ask are blessings to be 
shared by others.^ 

'Which art in heaven.' We need constantly to remind 
ourselves that heaven is not a place. We are obliged to think 
under conditions of space and time, yet we ought to remember 
that there is no portion of space in which God dwells more than 
in other portions. When we speak of heaven as His dwelling- 
place, 'heaven' is a symbol to express His remoteness from all 
the limitations to which human beings, and the universe in which 
He has placed them, are subject. 'Which art in heaven' 
reminds us that between His infinite perfections and our 
miserable imperfections there is an immeasurable gulf, although, 
at the same time, He is in us and we are in Him. 

Hallowed be Thy Name. That this petition stands first 
warns us against self-seeking in prayer. We are not to begin 
with our own wants, not even our spiritual wants ; not with 
ourselves at all, but with God. It is His claims which are to be 
thought of first His Name represents His nature, His character, 
Himself, so far as all this can be known. 'Hallow' may mean 
^make holy,' which is impossible with regard to God or His 

^ Orotic fratema est; non didt. Pater meus sed. Pater noster^ omnes 
videliut und orcUione eomplectens (Aug.). 



Name. But ^hallow' may also mean ^make known as holy,' 
which is what God does when He hallows His Name. And it 
may also mean * regard as holy/ which is what man does when 
he hallows God's Name. It is for both these that we pray in 
this first petition. We pray that God will reveal to us more and 
more of the holiness of His character ; and we also pray that He 
will enable us to recognize His holiness, to understand more and 
more of the elements of which it consists, and to pay to it all the 
reverence that is possible, especially that most sincere form of 
reverence,— conscious and humble imitation. Thus while the 
address, 'Our Father,' encourages us to approach God with 
confidence, the first petition acts as a check upon any irreverent 

Thy Kingdom come. The petition is the most Jewish of all 
the petitions. The Talmud says : " That prayer in which there 
is no mention of the Kingdom of God is not a prayer." But the 
petition is equally Christian. It asks that God's rule may 
everywhere prevail over all hearts and wills. It sums up the 
Messianic hopes of the Hebrews and the still more comprehensive 
hopes of the disciples of Christ, who began His Ministry on 
earth with the proclamation that this Kingdom was about to 
begin. He founded it, and it has been developing ever since. 
This petition asks that its progress may be hastened by increased 
knowledge of God's commands and increased obedience to them. 
It asks that the principles of God's government may be victorious 
over the principles of the world and of the evil one ; victorious 
in the individual heart, and also in the workings of society. It 
is a missionary prayer ; but we unduly limit its meaning if we 
interpret it merely as a petition for the spread of Christianity. If 
the whole human race had accepted the Gospel, this petition 
would still stand. 'The Kingdom of God is within you,' and 
there is no limit to the progress which it may make in each loyal 
soul. There is always the Divine perfection to be realized more 
and more (v. 48). 

Thy Will be done^ as in heaven^ so on earth. We must know 
God's character before we know what He wills ; and hence the 
petition, 'Hallowed be Thy Name' precedes *Thy Will be done.' 
We could not pray that any one's will might be done while we 
were in ignorance of what the will was likely to be. But when 
God's character has been in some degree revealed to us, and 
revered by us, we can with sure trust go on to ask that His Will 
may be done, and done in this world with all the fulness and 
perfection with which it is done in that spiritual region in which 

' '*As in the Lord's Prayer, so in the ancient liturgies, the aoiist 
imperative is almost exclusively used. It is the true tense for 'instant' 
prayer" (J. H. Moulton, Gram, of N.T. Gr. p. 173). 


God's rule absolutely prevails. This petition reminds us of the 
part which we have to play in the realization of the Divine ideal. 
God has not reserved everything for Himself and made every- 
thing to depend upon His absolute decree. His Will is not the 
only will in the universe. He has created other wills, and left 
them free even to rebel against Himself. God's Name will not 
be rightly hallowed, His Kingdom will not fully come, until all 
wills are united to His in entire sympathy. Over this each one 
of us has his share of control ; it rests with him whether, so far 
as he is concerned, God's Will is done, and done with loving 

*As in heaven, so on earth.' Therefore, 'in heaven' also 
there are wills that conform to the Will of God: the petition 
would scarcely have meaning, if this were not so. So that this 
petition is a revelation respecting the unseen world: it is 
tenanted by spiritual beings who are obedient to the Divine 
WilL To interpret * in heaven ' of the heavenly bodies is not 
wrong, but it is inadequate. The sun, moon, and stars are 
symbol? of perfect obedience to God's decrees, but they are not 
examples of obedience, for there is no willing response to 
authority, no reasonable service.' This petition does not mean 
that men are to be reduced to the condition of perfect machines, 
knowing nothing of the mind which designed them. The 
reference is not to creatures who are lower than man, being not 
made in the image of God, but to those who are higher in the 
order of creation, or higher in the conditions of their present life. 
We can hardly doubt that the reference is to the Angels, and 
perhaps also to 'the spirits of just men made perfect' (Heb. 
zii. 23). And this leads to a further revelation. These spiritual 
beings do God's Will, for it is in this that we are to be like them.^ 
The^ore life in the unseen world is not idleness but activity ; 
and the end to which this petition looks is the working of all 
created wills in absolute unison with the Will of their Crt* ator. 

It is possible to take ' as in heaven, so on earth ' with the 
first two petitions, as weU as with the third, and this makes 
exoeUent sense. 

^ Voluntas tua corrigtUur advoluntaUm Dei^ non voluntas Dei detoraueatur 
adtuam (Aug.). '* Be bold as a leopard, and swift as an eagle, and strong 
as a lion, to do the will of thy Father which is in Heaven '"(Av^tf Aboth^ 
▼. 30). 

' " The sun, moon, and stars change not their order ; so do ye also change 
not the Law of God by the disorderliness of your doings '* {Naphtali iii. 2). 

' Mt. gives us more of Christ's sayings respecting Angels than any other 
Evangelist: xiii. 39, 41, 49, xvL 27, xviii. 10, xxii. 30, xxiv. 31, 36, 
xzv. 31, 41, xzvi. 53. Of these Mk. gives us four: viii. 38, xii. 25, 
ziiL 27, 32, and Lk. two : ix. 26, xx. 36. But Lk. adds others : xii. 8, 9, 
XV. 10, xvi. 22. We have therefore more than a dozen utterances of our 
Lord on the subject, and His belief and doctrine can hardly be doubted. 



Our daily bread give us this day. We pass now from the 
Divine to the human, although (as we have seen in considering 
the petitions which have special reference to the former) the 
two are closely interwoven. After such a petition as the third, 
there is no bathos in coming to this request for the supply of 
man's temporal needs. After praying that we may be able to 
serve God on earth as perfectly as He is served in heaven, we 
may pray that He will give us all that is necessary for our 
continued life on earth in His service. And this petition, which 
is in both forms of the Prayer, b sufficient answer to the theory 
that the benefits to be won by prayer are purely subjective, viz. 
the quickening of our own spiritual life by communion with God. 
This petition is strangely misleading, if it does not mean that 
there are temporal blessings which we may obtain from God by 
asking for them. Granted that many of these blessings come 
to those who never pray : that does not prove that they are not 
won by the supplications of those who do pray, nor that those 
who do pray are not more richly endowed with them. A man 
really possesses only that which he enjoys ; and the enjoyment 
of temporal goods is always enhanced by the recognition that 
they are God's gifts. There is no surer way of making this 
recognition constant and real than by often Uianking God for 
His gifts and asking Him to continue them. And this petition 
not only allows, but commands us to pray for bodily sustenance 
and the supply of temporal needs. Prayer against temporal 
calamities is also enjoined (xxiv. 20; Mk. xiiL 18); and the 
prayer of the disciples for hdp in the storm was heard (viii. 26 ; 
Mk. iv. 39 ; Lk. viii. 24). 

God has given us a nature capable of desiring external things, 
and He has placed us in a world in which such desires can be 
gratified. In this petition Christ teaches us that it is lawful to 
pray for the gratification of such desires, — always in submission 
to the Divine Will. We may pray for them, both for ourselves 
and for others. And it is a great test of the rightness of our 
desires that we can turn them into prayers. Desire for what 
cannot be in accordance with the WiU of God is not one that 
we can ask Him to grant. We cannot ask God to bless fraud 
and lust ; but we can ask Him to bless honest work as a means 
of obtaining food, and raiment, and healthful enjoyment All 
which is to be shared with others : * Give «f .' Therefore he who 
has received more than his share is bound to consider the 
needs of those who have received less. 'Give us* becomes a 
mockery when those who have been entrusted with a large 
portion of God's bounty do nothing for the fulfilment of thev 
. : : own prayer in reference to others. S. James has spoken 
; ' : severely of all such in the famous passage on £uth and works 


(it. 14-17); and his words are perhaps an echo of those of his 
Brother (xxv. 41-45). 'Give me ^ is a prayer which may easily 
end in selfishness : * give us,* once realized, is a safeguard against 
self-seeking. FubUca est nobis et communis oratio, et quando 
oramuSj nonpro uno sed pro populo iotooramus^ quia totus populus 
unum sumus (Cyprian, De Dam, Orat 7). 

The extremely perplexing word which is translated 'daily' 
(circov<rtos : see below) perhaps means 'needful,' just what 
is required for health and strength. If so, the petition is 
similar to that in the prayer of Agur : * Give me neither poverty 
nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me' 
(Prov. XXX. 8). 

We are not to ask for superfluities. The petition will cover 
what b needed for culture and refinement, but it will not cover 
luxury and extravagance. What we need must not be interpreted 
to mean all that we desire ; sufficiency and contentment will 
never be reached by that method. Contentment is reached by 
moderating wants, not by multiplying possessions. 

It is remarkable that hrw6ffwt is in both forms of the Prayer, and the 
word is found nowhere else in Greek literature. It seems to have been 
coined for the occasion. It is part of the strong evidence that our Lord 
habitually spoke Aramaic rather man Greek, for He would not have put into 
the pattern Praver, otherwise so simple in its language, a word that had 
never been used before. It is possible that some one mvented the word in 
order to translate an Aramaic adjective used by Christ. It is also possible 
that there was no adjective (elsewhere in the Prayer there is none), but that 
this was inserted at an early period after the Prayer had come into common 
use. If 'needful' is not the meaning, * daily,' or 'for the coming day,' 
or 'continual' may be right. See Lightfoot, On a Fresh Revision of the 
New Testament J App. i. ; M'Clellan, The New T'estament^ i. pp. 632-647 ; 
Cremer, Lexicon^ sub voc. Recently discovered papyri have thrown much 
light on Biblical languajge, but not on this word : Onsen's remark, that it 
is not found elsewhere in Greek, is still true. Jerome s statement, that in 
the Gospel of the Hebrews the word used was mdhSr, would confirm the 
rendering ' for the coming day,' if we could be sure that ^toi^ios is a trans- 
lation of it. ' Give us to-day our bread for to-morrow ' is not excluded by 
' Be not anxious for to-morrow ' (34) : the petition in that case would be a 
means of avoiding anxiety. Nevertheless, the daily asking for to-morrow's 
bread does not seem quite natural. But ' to-day,' even without the rendering 
'daily,' necessarily led to the conclusion that the prayer was to be used 

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors, 
'Give' is followed by * forgive.' External needs for the present 
moment are the most obvious and pressing ; but spiritual needs 
at once assert themselves, and these are thought of in reference 
to the past and the future. There are past sins and future 
temptations to be reckoned with. The more we are conscious 
that the good things which we enjoy are the free gifts of our 
Father, the more conscious we are likely to be of the miserable 


return which we have made to Him. Benefits received and 
recognized quicken the sense of injuries done to the benefactor. 
And this sense of injuries cannot be removed by resolutions of 
better conduct towards the injured benefactor in the future. 
His forgiveness of the injuries must be obtained, and therefore 
must be asked. This is what we owe to him ; it is a duty, a 
debt : and in reference to our heavenly Father there has been 
a heavy accumulation of debts, which is constantly increasing. 
We are accustomed to distinguish three spheres of duty — to God, 
to our fellows, and to ourselves, and the distinction is useful. 
But, in reality, all transgressions of duty to ourselves and to 
our neighbours are transgressions of our duty to God. All 
transgressions of duty are debts to Him, and we need His 
forgiveness for them, not in order to escape the penalties of our 
wrong-doing, but in order that the loving relation between 
Father and child may be restored. The sense of sin is perhaps 
as general as the sense of bodily need, but it is not as frequently 
felt. The one cannot long be forgotten or ignored, but the 
other may be; and the constant use of this petition helps to 
keep alive m our hearts the sense of sin and consequent need 
of forgiveness. 

*As we also have forgiven our debtors.' The 'as' must 
not be pressed to mean that the fulness of the Father's forgive- 
ness is to be measured by the extent to which we foigive our 
fellow-men. No such hard bargaining is to be understood. 
What is meant is, that we ourselves must cultivate a spirit of 
forgiveness towards those who seem to have wronged us, before 
we venture to claim forgiveness for ourselves. God has more 
to forgive to each individual than any human being can have ; 
and He is more ready to forgive : it is impossible for men to 
equal Him in this. But men can try to imitate Him (Eph. v. l), 
and only so far as they imitate Him have they the right to use 
this petition. The Talmud says : " He who is indulgent towards 
others* faults will be mercifully dealt with by the Supreme Judge." 

Lead us not into temptation^ but deliver us from the evil one. 
The sixth petition, like the fifth, is concerned with spiritual 
rather than physical needs, but it deals with the future and not 
with the present or the past. Alike in his spiritual and in his 
physical life the Christian is dependent upon God. It is God 
who supplies his daily need of food, and it is God who can pro- 
tect him from his constant temptations. Life is full of trials, 
not all of which are temptations to do what God forbids. But 
all trials are opportunities of doing what is wrong, for we may 
take them in a rebellious spirit Yet every kind of trial is to be 
accepted as a necessary means of strengthening our characters, 
for there can be no virtue without temptations to vice, tempta- 


tions which come from the evil one. In few things is God's 
power of bringing good out of evil seen more clearly than when 
He turns what the devil intends as ' occasions of falling ' into 
opportunities that may be ' for our wealth ' ; for every tempta- 
tion vanquished adds to the strength and richness of the soul. 
But the humble child of God is aware of his own weakness, and 
he therefore prays that his heavenly Father will not allow him 
to be too often or too sorely tried, but will in all cases deliver 
him when he is tried, either by strengthening his powers of 
resistance or by lessening the attractiveness of sin. In short, 
he prays for that shield of faith, wherewith he may ' quench all 
the fiery darts of the evil one' (Eph. vL 16). 

It cannot be determined with certainty whether * deliver us 
from evil* or 'deliver us from the evil one' is right: the Greek 
(pvcrcu '^fiJas Saro rov voyrjpov) will bear either meaning, and both 
are found in the New Testament. We certainly have * evil ' in 
the neuter sense Lk. vi. 45, Rom. xii. 9, and we certainly have 
'the Qvilone' of Satan Mt. xiiL 19, 38; i Jn. ii. 13, 14, iii. 12, 
V. 18, and probably elsewhere. Here the 'but' suggests the 
masculine: 'Lead us not into temptation, ^/ deliver us from 
the tempter.' If evil in general were meant, we should expect 
*and deliver from evil.' The evidence of the Greek Fathers, 
who in such a matter have great weight, of the earliest Latin 
Fathers, and of various Liturgies, is strongly in favour of the 
masculine. But modern scholars are much divided on the 
subject See Lightfoot, On a Fresh Revision^ App. ii., and 
Canon Cook's reply in the Guardian^ Sept 1881. 

On the other hand, there is no doubt that the doxology , ' For Thine is the 
KiDgdom/ etc., is no part of the Prayer. It is not found in Lk., and it is an 
interpolation (due to liturgical use) in the authorities which have it here. 
Those which have it vary in the wording and as to the addition or omission 
of ' Amen ' : some have ' Amen * without the doxology. It is absent from 
M B D Z, five cursives, Latt. Boh., Orig. Tert. Gypr. Aug. ; and not until 
Chrys. does its wording become fixed. But doxologies of some kind were 
added to the Prayer as early as the second century (k Syr-Cur. Sah.). In the 
Didache (viiL 2) we have " for Thine is the power and the glory for ever" ; 
and in the newly discovered uncial MS., now in the possession of Mr. C. L. 
Freer of Detroit, U.S. A., the full form is found, with the exception of rcur 
aUiptuf after «/f roi>f alQwas, but with the Amen : " For Thine is the kingdom 
and the power and the glory for ever. Amen." This perplexing uncial, 
which is oelieved to be of the fifth, or possibly of the fourth century, also 
contains the interpolation about the weather, xvi. 2, 3. See C R. Gregory, 
Das Freer- Logion^ Leipzig, 1908 ; £. Jacquier, Histoiredes Livres du N,T, 

"i. PP- 338-3441 Paris, i^. 

It does not follow, because the doxology is no part of the original Prayer, 
that it ought not to be used. It has evidently supplied a felt want Perhaps 
Christians have not liked ending the prayer witn 'evil' or 'the evil one.' 
See Nestle, Textual Criticism ^ pp. 250, 251 ; and (for a halting defence of 
the interpolation) Scrivener (Miller), ii. pp. 323, 324. The source may be 
I Chroo. xxiz. 11. 


It is worth while comparing the Mourner's Kaddish as it is still used in 
the Morning Service of the Synagogue. 

« Magnified and sanctified be His great Name in the world which He hath 
created according to His will. May He establish His Kingdom during your 
life and during your days, and during the life of all the house of Israel, even 
speedily and at a near time, and say ye. Amen. 

Let His great Name be blessed for ever and to all eternity. 

Blessed, praised and glorified, exalted, extolled and honoured, magnified 
and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He ; though He be 
high above all the blessings and h3rmns, praises and consolations, which are 
uttered in the world ; and say ye. Amen " ( The Authorised Daily Prayer 
Book of the United Hebrew Congregations^ p. 77). 

A common response in the Temple-service is said to have been : *' Blessed 
be the Name of the Glory of His Kmgdom for ever and ever." 

The two verses (14, 15) which follow the Prayer are inserted 
as a comment on 'Forgive as we have forgiven.' A similar 
saying is recorded Mk. xi. 25 : ' And whenever ye stand praying, 
forgive, if ye have aught against any one ; that your Father also 
which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses'; where 
• your Father which is in heaven ' looks like a reference to the 
Prayer. Nowhere else does Mk. use this phrase. But our 
forgiveness of others is only part of what is necessary in order to 
obtain forgiveness for ourselves from God. By itself, our refusal 
to forgive others prevents our obtaining forgiveness from Him ; 
but our forgiving others will not, by itself, secure forgiveness from 
Him. There is a close parallel in Ecclus. xxviii. 2 ; and also in 
the Testaments : " Do you also, my children, have compassion 
on every man in mercy, that the Lord also may have compassion 
and mercy on you " {Zebulon viii i). 

These two verses, which are possibly derived from Mk. zL 25, are 
additional evidence that the doxology is no part of the original text As it 
is, they come in somewhat awkwardly ; but after the doxology a return to a 
petition in the Prayer would be still more strange. And it is worth noting 
that Mk. xi. 25 is more suitable than Mt. v. 23, 24, which resembles it, to 
an audience in Galilee. The case of ' offering thy gift at the altar ' would 
come home to an audience in Jerusalem, accustomed to make offerings in the 
Temple ; but ' whensoever ye stand praying ' would suit any Jewish audience. 
It is not improbable that some of the material of which the Sermon as we 
have it in Mt is composed comes from teaching which was originally given 
at Jerusalem. 

The third illustration of the contrast between Pharisaic 
practice and the Christian ideal \s fasting. As in the two other 
cases, the illustration is introduced with a 'when' or 'whenever' 
(oray), not with an 'if (cai^). It is assumed that the truly 
religious man will fast, as it is assumed that he will give alms 
and pray. The Pharisees made a parade of fasting twice a week, 
Monday and Thursday, in addition to the annual fast prescribed 
for all; hence the boast in the parable (Lk. xviiL 12). And they 
let the world know that they were fasting by their sanctimonious 


behaviour. The unusual expression about their ' disfiguring their 
faces ' has a parallel in the Testaments : rovro (this evil temper) 
TO TTpwrwrov afftavllti. {Zebulon viii. 6). Loisy thinks that there 
is un jeu de mots between a^avU^owrw and ffMvwnvy Uhey dis- 
figure . . . that they may figure.' If it is intentional, it is tfie 
Evangelist's; or his Greek source may have contrived it It 
would not be likely to exist in the original Aramaic: comp. 
xxL 41, xxiv. 30. 

In ver. 18 Wellhausen would omit the r^ before the first ky 
Tw Kpv^oM^ and connect these three words with in^oreuwr — * but 
as fasting in secret' This is arbitrary and without advantage. 

There is no real difficulty in the fact that at this time our 
Lord's disciples did not fast (ix. 14; Mk. ii. 18). Our Lord 
knew that diey would fast after His departure, and He here 
provides principles for this form of discipline. Moreover, He is 
here addressing a mixed multitude, most of whom were in 
religion purely Jewish, and therefore needed instruction for their 
daily lives. They were bound by law and custom to fast some- 
times, and they might be quite right in adding voluntary fasts 
sometimes to the fasts of obligation. Christ nowhere blames 
the Pharisees for fasting; it is fasting ostentatiously that is 

VL 10-Vn. Ifi. The Christian Life in its own working. 

It is possible that the Evangelist has made one of his favourite 
triplets in having three prohibitions in succession : * Lay not up,' 
eta (19-34), * Judge not' (vii. 1-5), *Give not,* etc. (vii. 6). 
But the passages differ so greatly in length, that the arrangement 
may be independent of the Evangelist's predilections. The first 
passage (19-34) has no parallel in Lk.'s report of the Sermon; 
the parallel material is found in four different places in his 
Gospel (xii. 33, 34, xi. 34-36, xvi. 13, xii. 22-31). We are 
-therefore in doubt whether these sixteen verses are part of the 
original Sermon. They fit in very well with the main theme, — 
the requirements for those who enter the Kingdom, or the 
elements of the ideal Christian character : to know where true 
riches can be found is essential to true holiness. On the other 
hand, the transition firom fasting to treasures in heaven is abrupt, 
and something may be missed out But the only thing that is 
of importance is secure ; we are here dealing with what at some 
time or other was uttered by our Lord. 

Two links of connexion with what precedes have been 
suggested. The warning against the worldly-mindedness of 
hypocritical almsgiving, prayer, and fasting is followed by a 
warning against the worldly-mindedness of heaping up riches; 


and in the history of the Church avarice and empty religious 
profession have often gone together from the days of Hophni 
and Phinehas onwards. Again, the promise of a reward from 
the Father which seeth in secret leads to a discussion of the 
acquiring and storing such reward There is yet another pos- 
sible connexion. Christ has been warning His hearers against 
Pharisaic hypocrisy. He now warns them against another vice 
which was common among the Pharisees, that of avarice (Lk. 
xvi. 14). The Pharisees were often wealthy, and believed their 
wealth to be a reward for their zeal in keeping the Law. They 
regarded themselves as conspicuous evidence of the connexion 
between righteousness and riches; and Christ, having shown 
that their righteousness was no true righteousness, here goes on 
to show that their wealth is no true riches. A Christian must 
look elsewhere for his treasure. 

The passage has three marked divisions : the heavenly 
treasure (19-21), the single eye (22, 23), the banishment of 
anxiety (24-34). 

The warning supposes a simple state of society, in which 
wealth is hoarded in the house and consists partly of rich apparel. 
The house also has mud walls, which can be dug through by 
thieves. "The contrast with heavenly treasure is obvious, and 
this is one reason for preferring heavenly treasure,* But there 
is another reason, introduced by an important 'for ' : * For where 
thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.' We must store our 
wealth above> in order that our hearts may be drawn upwards. 
The two act and react upon one another ; where our treasure is, 
there will our hearts be ; and where our hearts are, there is our 
treasure. In the Psalms of Solomon we have 6 iroilov BiKouxrvyrpf 
fivf<ravpL^€i dunp^ iavrt^ vapa Kvpitf (ix. 9).' 

The metaphor of the eye in a moral sense (22) was common 
among the Jews, a good eye signifying a generous soul, and an 
evil eye a grasping and grudging one (Deut. xv. 9 ; Prov. xxiii. 6, 
xxviii. 22). The way to keep the eye of the soul healthy is 
generous almsgiving (Tob. iv. 7). To be miserly is to distort, 
and at last to blind, the eye of the soul, so that it can no longer 
see the true value of things (Hatch, Essays in Bibl. Grk, p. 80). 

^ " Tnily a good man, say the Rabbb, was King Munhaz. During a 
Cunine he gave to the poor the treasury of his father. His relations upbraided 
him : What thy father saved, thou hast thrown away. Munhaz answered : 
My father laid up treasure on earth ; I gather it in the heavens. My ftither 
hoarded it where hands might steal ; I have placed it beyond the reach of 
human hands. My father saved money ; I have saved life. My father saved 
for others ; I save for myself. My father saved for this world ; I save for 
the next " (Talmud). Comp. Tob. iv. 7-9. 

' In the Testaments we again have a parallel : roii^are dcxaioot^nir ^t 
r9fi 7^, (ra n^ffifrt 4w TMt odpapois (Levi xiii. 5). 


Here, 'single' (dv^Xovs) means 'free from distortion/ and hence 
'liberal' (comp. 2 Cor. viii. 2, ix. 11, 13; Rom. xii. 8; Eph. 
vi. 5; Col. iiL 22).* But the spiritual eye may be distorted and 
darkened in other ways than by avarice, — by prejudice, or super- 
stition. Jamais on ne fait le mal si pleinement que quand on le 
fait par conscience (Pascal). 

' How great is the darkness 1 ' {jo o-koto^ vdcrov) possibly refers 
to the original condition of the soul before that which ought to 
have illuminated came. Some Latin texts have ipsa tenebree 
quanta^ which seems to imply this meaning, while others have 
simply tenebree quanta. If the opportunity for illumination has 
been without effect, how hopeless must the darkness become 1 
If that which ought to convey light is darkened, that which is by 
nature dark must be dark indeed. 

The next verse (24) connects the subject of the single eye 
with that of freedom from anxiety by pointing out the absorbing 
character of the vice of avarice, 'No man can be a slave 
(&nxXcuccv) to two masters.' One or other will be his owner and 
have absolute control over him, and aU other claims on his 
service will be entirely excluded.* Avarice is the most exacting 
of all vices ; it is never off its guard, and it never relaxes its hold. 
Sights which make even the hardened sinner compassionate for 
a brief space, make the miser draw his purse-strings the tighter. 
The claims, not only of relations, friends, and country, but even 
of honour, comfort, and health, are disregarded, when money is 
at stake. Mammon ' is here personified as the rival of God, and 
all experience shows that he who has allowed himself to become 
its slave can serve no one else ; least of all can he devote himself 
to the service of Him who claims exclusive service. Devotion to 
the service of money is the ' covetousness which is idolatry' 
(Col. iii. 5). But neither here nor elsewhere is the possession of 
wealth condemned : it is being enslaved to riches that is fatal, 
and to possess great riches without being enslaved is not easy. 

' Comp. rop€v6ft£vot h h,r\6r7frt 6<^6aX/JLQp : and ropedmu iw i,r\6T7frt 
fvx^ , , , fi^ iwid€x6fteyof 6^a!Kfto^ Twnipois {Issachar iii. 4, iv. 6) ; also 

iLfULortoKiA &riy {Benjamin iv. 2). 

^ Comp. dwrl Tdp Td$€<nv iyarrlois dovXe^if koX Beif inraKoOffoi od (i^arac 
{Judah xviii. 6) ; and, for the use of dFr^e<rtfai in a similar antithesis, " the 
<Kvil will flee from you and the Angels will deare to you" — Mi^orrtu 
hp&w {Naphtaii viii. 4). 

* fULfutwSit seems to be the correct spelling and accentuation, but the 
derivation is uncertain. Augustine says : lucrum Punice mammon dicitur: 
sedqui servit mammona, iUi utique servit, qui magistratus hujus seculi a 
Domino dicitur {Do Serm. Dom. li. xiv. 47) ; where the translation of 6 roO 
kAt/iw tovtoO &px»w should be noticed. The Vulgate has princeps hujus 
mundi, Comp. injustitia enim autorem et dommatorom totius soaUi num' 
mum scimus omnes (TerL Adv» Marc, iv. 33). 


Wealth is a trust, not an absolute property, an instrument, not 
an end. It is to be used, not for selfish enjoyment, but for the 
well-being of ourselves and others. 

The verses which follow (25-34) teach the duty of trust in 
God's providential care, and the folly of over-anxiety about 
bodily needs in the future. Covetousness and hoarding spring 
from want of trust in God (Heb. xiii. 5) and end in the servile 
worship of mammon. ' Therefore ' (8ia toxto \4y<a v/uv), seeing 
that you must choose between the two, cease to be anxious 
about worldly riches, and devote your affections and energies to 
your heavenly Father. The threefold 'Be not anxious' (jiij 
/upcfAvarc, firj fi€pifj;in^(rriT€f 25, 31, 34) does not forbid foresight 
and provision, but the anxiety (fiipifiya) which distracts and 
distresses.^ T^e question, ' Is not the life more than the food, 
eta,' means that we are obliged to leave these more important 
things to God ; then why can we not trust Him respecting the 
less important ? We had nothing to do with the gift of life, or 
with the formation of our bodies; God determined all that 
Can we not believe that His interest in us will continue ? ^1 liedi/ 
animam tnuUo facilius escam esse daturum f, as Augustine puts it; 
and he might have put it more strongly. Again, we cannot deter- 
mine the length of the lives which have been given to us. We can 
end them prematurely, but which of us, no matter how anxious 
he is, can add a span to the age allotted to him ? ' Let us trust 
God for food and clothing, as we are obliged to trust Him for 
body and life. We are the children of God ; we believe that 
Then do let us believe that He loves us and cares for us, and 
will bless the reasonable provision which we make in order not 
to presume on His bounty. Reasonable, not unreasonable. 
Anxiety about storing up great provision for the future is a subtle 
form of the worship of mammon. It begins with prudent fore- 
sight ; but it too often passes into regarding money as an end in 
itself, and ends in making it a god, and a most tyrannical god. 

It is perhaps right to say that we have three gradations 

' 'Be not careful' in the earlier English Versions was better than 'take 
no thought ' in the AV. But ' thought meant anxious care in the seventeenth 
century ; I Sam. is. 5. See Wright, TA^ Bidle fVard-Bcok^ p. 598 ; Davies, 
Bible Eni^lisht p. xoo. 

*That i}Xcjcui here means 'age' (Jn. ix. 21, 23 ; Heb. zi. 11) and not 
'stature' (Lk. xtz. 3) seems to be clear from the context, and still more so 
from the context of Lk. xii. 25. No one thinks of adding^ a cubii to his 
stature, although some try to add an inch. Many are anxious to add as 
much as possible to the length of their lives. ' Age ' b advocated by Alford, 
De Wette, Meyer, Olshaiisen, Stier, Tholuck, B. Weiss, Loisy, etc. On 
the other side see Field {Olium Norvic, iii. p. 4), Bengel, Fritzsche. If 
< stature ' be adopted, the thought may be that God's care makes the infant 
grow several cubits, bat no human audety can make it grow one cubit See 
DCG,^ art. 'Age.' 


(comme trots tchelons successifs^ P. GirodoD, S, LuCy p. 342) : a 
lesson for all, 'Beware of avarice' (24); a rule for disciples, 
'Seek first the Kingdom' (33) i and a counsel for some, 
'Sell all and give to die poor' (xix. 21). And Chry^ostom may 
be right when he says that greed for riches destroys more souls 
than the pursuit of pleasures. The former, unlike the latter, 
tightens its grip with increasing yeais. While the one is often 
recognized as folly, even by those who succumb to it, the other 
is likely to be regarded as wisdom, even by some who are not 
among its victims. The Talmud says : " Man is bom with his 
hands clenched ; he dies with them wide open. Entering lif<^ he 
desires to grasp everything; leaving the world, all that he 
possessed has stipped away " (Polano, p. 263). Then what folly 
it is to be distracted with anxiety about amassing what must be 
left behind 1 

Here once more we seem to have an arrangement into a 
group of seven. We can count seven arguments against over- 
anxiety about providing for the future, i. There are more 
important things to think about. ^ 2. Look at the birds, whom 
God feeds. 3. Life cannot be prolonged beyond the allotted 
time. 4. Look at the flowers, whom God clothes. 5. This over- 
anxiety is heathenish. 6. God knows what your needs are. 
7. Sufficient to each day is its evil. Sufficient, but not excessive. 
Each day as it passes, proves that the previous anxiety about it 
was unnecessary, for by God's help we have got through it 
Reasonable foresight is of course not forbidden ; Christ Himself 
made provision for the future by means of the bag which Judas 
kept But trust in God must rule our foresight 'Cast thy 
burden (ri^r fUpifiydv <nn) upon the Lord, and He will nourish 
thee' ( 22). 

In ver. 33 we may sospect that both ' first ' and ' righteousness ' are additions 
made by Mt. Neither is found in Lk. zii. 31 ; and throughout the Sermon 
'righteousness' is emphasised in Mt. (v. 6, 10, 20, vi. i). In Lk. the 
word IS not found, excepting i. 75. And there are considerable variations of 
reading here. EG K L M etc., Syr-Cur. Vulg. have ' the Kingdom 0/ God 
and His righteousness' while K has 'the Ejngdom and righteousness o/ 
GctL* B luis r^r diKcuoai&npr koI pcuriXetaw a^od, which may mean either 
' His righteousness and Kingdom ' or * righteousness and His Kingdom ' ; 
bat the reading is not likely to be original. It looks like a correction to 
place 'righteousness,' which is the means of entering the Kingdom, in a 
more logicalposition. 

Several Fathers quote a saying which mav be an adaptation of this verse, 
but which Resch (Agrapha^ pp. 1 11, 112) believes to oe unquestionably a 
genuine utterance of Christ. It is given in its fullest form by Origen [De 
Orat, 2 ; Of,\. p. 197) and by Ambrose {Ep, i. 36 Ad HoronL 3 ; Op, viii. 
445) : " Ask for the great things, and the small shall be added to you. Ask 

' The introductory did rtSno \h(w hyMf (25) is found in Lk. (xii. 22) also, 
bat it refers to quite different premises (Wellhausen). 


for the heavenly things, and the earthly shall be added to you." Origen 
expressly attributes the saying to 'the Saviour/ and he quotes it several 
times. Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius quote the first half, but Clement 
seems to regard it as derived from Mt vL 33 {Strom, iv. vi. p. 579). 
Eusebius, like Origen, expressly attributes it to ' the Saviour.' Their Ix^h 
using this expression looks as if they were quoting from a collection of the 
Saviour's utterances: A^ei b l^vHjp. Clement says simply 0i^ and 
Ambrose says Scriptum est. 

The Oxyrhynchus Logion ii. is possibly an adaptation of ver. 33. The 
Greek is unusual, but the genend sense seems to be clear. A^et 'Ii^oOs , ^ 
ftil WfiffreuffTfre rdr K&rfiow od fu^ eOpirire rifp poffiKeltuf rod GeoO* koX Hlp fiii va^pa- 
rUnyre rb ffifiparov oix B^eaBe rhif TLar^pa, ''Jesus saith, Except ye fiist to 
the world, ye shall in no wise find the Kingdom of God ; and except ye keep 
the sabbath, ye shall not see the Father." In the Septuagint we have aappa- 
rlj^eip rd irdpfiara (Lev. xxiiL 33 ; 3 Chron. xxvi. 21), but nowhere has such 
a construction as njareuftp rbv Kirfnw been found. Grenfell and Hunt, A6yca 
'Ii}0-oD, 1897, pp. 10, II ; Lock and Sanday, 7W Ledum on the * Sayings of 
JesuSy 1897, pp. 19, 20 ; Resch, Agrapha^ p. 68. 

The concluding verse (34) has no parallel in Lk. It may be the Evan- 
gelist's own comment, either as a summary of the preceding teaching, or an 
addition to make a seventh aipiment. The puragraph would end more 
forcibly at ver. 33, and the addition does not rise mudi higher than stronjg; 
common sense. That does not make it unworthy of Christ, but it makes it 
within reach of the Evangelist's production. It amounts to this. Why 
double your cares by anticipating them ? Each day brings its own cares ; 
and it is foolish to add the cares of to-morrow to those of to-day. To-day's 
burden is increased, without to-morrow's being made lighter. Allen quotes 
from Sanhedrin loobi "Trouble not thyself about the trouble of the 
morrow, for thou knowest not what a day brings forth. Perhaps on the 
morrow thou wilt not exist, and so thou wilt have troubled about that 
which does not exist for thee." See Montefiore, p. 544. 

Characteristic expressions in ch. vi. : inroKpirifl (2, 5, 16), ^aJofwdm, 
(5, 16, 17), Tar^p 6 i¥ rocf adpdriot (9), y€rij9i/JT<o (lo), Biiaavp^t (19, 20, 21 ), 
MufM (25, 28), ffvydyeuf (26). Peculiar to Mt : irar^/> 6 o^pdpois (14, 26, 
32) ; peculiar to this chapter : parraXoytip (7), vtiKvKoyla (7), ir/w^ouof (18), 
KaTa/iaw$iP€tp (28). The word to^wp is peculiar to Mt. (6, xxiv. 26) and Lk. 
(xii. 3, 24). The AV. varies between 'closet,' 'secret chamber,' and 'store- 
house'; the RV. has 'store-chamber,' Lk. xii. 24, but elsewhere 'inner 
chamber.' The Latin renderings vary greatly : cubicuium^ cubile^ ceUarium^ 
promptuarium^ promptcdia^ penetralia^ peneirabilia^ hospitium, domus. See 
Ronsch, /tola und Vuigata^ pp. 32 and 48 ; DCG,, art. 'Closet' 

VIL 1-5. The warning against heaping up riches is followed 
by a warning against criticizing others. It is possible that here 
again^ as perhaps in vL 19-34, Christ is selecting a fault for 
condemnation, because it was common among Pharisaic pro- 
fessors of righteousness, and that this is one of the links of 
connexion.^ But in neither case is the condemnation to he 
restricted to any particular class. The love of money is perilous 
to all, and not merely to Pharisees ; and so also is the lov*^ of 

> But the warning of Maldonatus {ad loc, ) is constantly to be kept in 
mind : Ego Jam monui nan esse anxie quarendam in Evangelistis senfen- 
tiarum connexionem^ quia res non eo ordine scribere v^uerunt quo factee a 
Christo vet dicta sunt. See the whole passage. 


passing judgment upon our neighbours.^ It is possible that our 
Lord is here quoting or alluding to current sayings, similar to 
our proverb about ''those who live in glass houses." The 
Sermon abounds in sayings which have passed into proverbs, 
and which may have been such before Christ uttered them. ' A 
city set on a hill' (v. 14). 'Let not thy left hand know' (vL 3). 
'Where thy treasure is' (vL 21). 'No man can serve two 
masters' (vL 24). 'Is not life more than food?' (vi. 25). 
' Sufficient unto the day ' (vi. 34). * With what measure ye mete ' 
(viL 2). 'Cast not your pearls' (viL 6). The broad and the 
narrow way (vii. 13, 14). 'By their fruits ye shall know them' 
(viL i6| 20). The mote and the beam may easily have been 
current The avoidance of criticisms on oneself is neither 
the only nor the highest motive for abstaining from criticizing 
others. Christ's warning rises higher than this. Just as the 
forgiveness of others prepares us to receive the forgiveness of 
Godf so our condemnation of others prepares the way for His 
condemnation of us.^ We are using a severe standard, which 
will be disastrous when applied to ourselves. That people are 
paid back in their own measure is a saying which is given in 
different contexts (Mk. iv. 24 ; Lk. vL 38) with different meanings. 
Its meaning here is dear: criticism provokes criticism similar 
to itself. 

The parable of the mote and the beam carries us further. 
The censorious temper is unchristian ; it is a violation of the law 
of love. It means that we pay an amount of attention to the 
faults of others which ought to be paid to our own, and that of 
our own faults we have a very inadequate appreciation.* If we 
knew how worthy of blame we ourselves are, we should be much 
less ready to blame others. No one likes adverse criticism, and 
he who loves his neighbour as himself will be loath, rather than 
eager, to criticize others adversely. And every one who is in 
earnest knows how faulty his own life is, and for this reason wiU 
be less ready to judge others. Censoriousness reverses all this. 
The man who habitually busies himself with the supposed 
delinquencies of others is not likely to investigate or to realize 
his own grievous offences. And we are all of us prone to 

' Hence the present imperative, /i^ Kpf^trWf * Cease to pass jndgment ' ; as 
if every one trauosgressed in this way. Contrast the aorist imperatives in 
ver. 6. The mote and the beam are examples of Oriental hjrperbole. 

* We have the same thought in the Testaments : etndtp TOi-fjcTfrtf rknciw 
adroO, o^v K(//Hot iroiV« A^ ai>roO {Zrb. v. 3). As Loisy points out {Le 
Discaurs sur la MontagnSf p. 114), 'Judge not, and ye shall not be judged' 
is a kind of inversion of the Lex tcUionis, 

' In illustration of d^f iKfidXtOt J. H. Moulton quotes from a papyrus of 
the Roman period {0,P, 413), d^s 4yii oiMiP Optivilfrv {Gram, of N,T* Gr. 

P- 175). 


suspect in the conduct of others precisely those faults of which 
we are frequently guilty ourselves. S. James carries us a step 
further, and shows that the self-constituted censor invades the 
judgment-seat of God (iv. ii, 12).^ 

But, although we can refrain from expressing unfavourable 
judgments of others, and although we can be charitable in our 
unexpressed judgments, yet there are cases in which the 
judgment, whether expressed or not, must be unfavourable. 
In dealing with others we must take into account what we know 
of their conduct and character. This prudent circumspection 
is specially necessary in the Christian minister. The Gospel has 
to be preached to all, but not to all at the same time or in the 
same way. In many cases an opportunity must be waited for ; 
and the hoary sinner will need different treatment from the 
ignorant lad. The preciousness of the preacher's message makes 
it all the more necessary that he should deliver it with discretion. 
Many are repelled by the tactless way in which they are 
approached, and behave themselves towards holy things as dogs 
or swine, when they might have been won over as sheep. We 
have similar counsel in Proverbs : ' He who corrects a scoffer 
gets insult. And he who reproves a wicked man, reviling. 
Reprove not a scoffer, lest he hate thee ; Reprove a wise man, 
and he will love thee ' (ix. 7, 8). ' Speak not in the ears of a fool ; 
For he will despise the wisdom of Uiy words ' (xxiii. 9 ; see Toy, 
ad lac.). The verse (6) has no parallel in Lk., and though it 
may be connected with what precedes, yet it seems to have little 
in common with what follows. It has many adaptations, and is 
a basis for the principle of ' economy ' in the communication of 
religious truth,^ and for the protection of sacred rites from 
profanation. " Let no one eat or drink of your eucharist, except 
those baptized into the name of the Lord ; for as r^ards this 
the Lord has said. Give not that which is holy to the dogs" 
{Didache ix. 5). Of heretics who admitted all sorts, even heathen, 
to their services, Tertullian says : " That which is holy they will 
cast to the dogs, and pearls (although, to be sure, they are not 
real ones) to swine " {De Prascr. xli). Similar applications are 
frequent in the Fathers, in Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, Basil, 

^ See the Expositor' t Bible^ ad, loc. pp. 25x-26a Here the change from 
* see ' (/SX^ns) to ' perceive ' or ' notice (jcarai'oect) is required by the figure. 
A man cannot tee wnat is in his own eye, though he may be aware of it and 
consider it. David's anger against the rich man who had taken the poor 
man's lamb illustrates the parable of the mote and the beam. He pronounced 
judgment on himself in what he thought was righteous indignation against 

The Oxyrhynchus Logion b closer to Lk. vi. 42 than to ML vii. 5. See 
Grenfell and Hunt, p. 10. 

' See DCG., art. 'Accommodation.' 


Gregory Nazianzen, Jerome, etc.* It is possible that to ayiov 
means that which has been offered in sacrifice. 

The exhortation to earnest prayer (7-1 1) is found in Lk. 
immediately after the parable of the Friend at Midnight 
(xL 5-13). In both we have present imperatives (aiTcw-c, {TTeiTc, 
icpovcrc) : ' Continue to ask, seek, knock.' We are not to cease 
praying, because there is no apparent answer to our prayers. 
The threefold expression gives emphasis to the command, and 
was evidently in the source used by both Evangelists. On the 
other hand, we are not to suppose that the object of persevering 
prayer is to overcome the Father's unwillingness. His desire 
to help is always there : by perseverance in asking we appropriate 
it Of the parent's incredible conduct Lk. has three illustrations, 
adding 'egg and scorpion' to 'bread and stone' and 'fish and 
serpent'; but the text there is confused. In each case there is 
a rough resemblance between what the child asks for and. the 
parent is supposed to offer. The parent may possibly refuse, 
but will he mock his child with what is useless or harmful ?^ 

'If ye then, being evil' (el cXv ^/ui?, iron/pol 5itcs). The 
serene, but emphatic manner in which Christ separates Himself 
from His hearers in this particular is very impressive. Lk. is 
still stronger : ' If ye, being evil from the first, being by nature 
evil' {innrnpoi virdpxovT€s). We are perhaps not to understand 
wickedness in general as included in ' evil,' but rather the special 
vice of niggardliness, as in the ' evil eye * (vi. 23). Those who 
are commonly disposed to be grudging nevertheless make an 
exception in the case of their own children. They do not 
always give exactly what is asked for, for children often ask for 
what is not good for them, but they give, and give what is good. 
Will the heavenly Father do less?* But we must ask for what 
we believe to be in accordance with His will, and we must ask 
in submission to His will (Jas. iv. 3). 

In the Golden Rule (12) the Sermon reaches its climax; it is 
" the capstone of the whole discourse." The * therefore ' with 
which it is introduced does not fit on very well to the preceding 

' It is probable that both ' dogs ' and * swine ' are the nominatives of 
' trample,' ' turn' and 'rend.' But some would make ' d(^' the subject of 
'turn and rend,' and 'swine' the subject of 'trample.' To the Jew both 
swine and dogs were unclean. See Tristram, Nai. Hist, of the Bible, p. 79. 

* It is suggested that ' serpent ' (^(f) means an eel, which might not be 
eaten : ' Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that is an abomina- 
tion unto you' (Lev. xi. 12). We cannot safely infer from this passage or 
xix. 29 that several of the Apostles were married and had children ; but it 
is not improbable. Comp. i Cor. ix. 5. We know that Peter was married 
(viiL 14). 

* " Even when the gates of prayer are shut in heaven, those of tears are 
open " (Talmud) : note the contrast between dy$p<arot (9) and o iw rocf 
odpavoit {11). 


veise : perhaps it looks back to vii. 1,2. In Lk. it follows what 
is parallel to v. 42, which makes a very suitable conjunction. 
The negative form of the precept, ' Do that to no man which thou 
hatest' (Tob. iv. 15), seems to have been common among the 
Rabbis. It b found in Isocrates, in Philo, and in the Stoics.^ It 
need not rise much above calculating prudence, which avoids 
provoking retaliation ; and it cannot rise above mere abstention 
from inflicting pain. At its best, it falls immeasurably short 
of the positive rule given by Christ The rule has the widest 
possible sweep : ' All things whatsoever ye would that men should 
do unto you ' ; which in Lk. is expressed by * exactly as * (ica^cds). 
It is of course assumed that men wish to have done to them what 
is really good for them : wishes for what is pleasant but harmful 
are not included. The concluding words, 'For this is the Law 
and the Prophets,' look back to v. 17. So far from destroying 
the Law and the Prophets, Christ preaches a doctrine which sums 
up all their teaching respecting the duty of mai> to man. What 
we desire from our neighbours is love, — true, constant, discerning 
love : and it is from our experience of our own needs in this 
respect that we can discern how much love of the same kind 
we owe to others. See Hort^ JudaisHc Christianity^ p. 20. The 
omission of 'ail' or 'the whole' before 'the Law' here, and its 
insertion xxiL 40 {<li\ivi h vo/w^)^ is very intelligible. Here only 
the love of man to his neighbour is under consideration, while 
there both the love of man to God and the love of man to 
man are prescribed. 

It was probably a new thing to Christ's hearers that the 
Prophets should be placed on a level with the Law, and this was 
frequently done by Him: v. 17, xi. 13, xxii. 40; Lk. xvi. 16, 
xxiv. 44. The combination is not foimd in Mk. or Jn., and 
Mk. does not mention the Law, which to his readers had little 

VZL 18-S8. Exhortation to enter the Christian Lifiy 
avoiding False Guides and False Professions. 

The Epilogue to the Sermon, which begins here, contains 
three pairs of contrasts, the broad and the narrow ways, the 
good and the bad trees, the well-built and the ill-built houses. 
The two first pairs belong to this section. 

We may connect the charge to enter the narrow way with 
the Golden Rule by the thought that to carry the rule into effect 

1 It b also fbond in some texts of Acts xv. 28, as to what was to be 
required of Gentile converts : quacunque vobis fieri nonvuUis^ alii ne feceriHs 
(Iren. ill. xii. 14 ; Qrpr. T€St, iii. 119). *^a /i^ 9k\*rt hivnSs yttwtaeai Mp^ 
/i^ rpuuf {Ccd» D). 


is indeed a hard matter. But in Lk. (xiii. 23, 24) this charge is 
given in a very different connexion, viz. in answer to the question 
whether those who are in the way of salvation (ol <noi,6fi€voi) are 
few. The gate (Mt.) or door (LL) is that which leads to the 
Kingdom, and we have thus rettimed to the thought with which 
the Sermon began, — admission to the Kingdom (v. 3).^ The 
way to it is the righteousness which is sketched in the Beatitudes. 
We might turn this charge into a Beatitude. Blessed are they 
that seek the way of righteousness, for they shall escape destruc- 
tion, or they shisdl find the Kingdom. Many enter the broad 
way, because it requhres no self-discipline, and therefore seems 
to promise greater freedom. And its popularity makes it easy 
enough to find. The way that leads to life is so little trodden, 
on account of its apparent difficulty, that it is not easy to find.^ 
This fact has often impressed thinkers in their classifications of 
mankind ; knaves and fools are many, while good and wise men 
are few. 'There be many created, but few shall be saved' 
(2 Esdr. viii. 3; comp. vii. 3-9). But for the ignorance and 
folly of the majority, the proportions would be reversed. The 
restrictions of the narrow way are not infringements of liberty 
but protections against evil: they result in a service which is 
perfect freedom. Indeed Christ Himself is the Way, the 
Messiah who is the bringer of freedom. In this world there 
must be restrictions, there must be a yoke and a burden ; but 
the yoke is easy, and the burden light, — ^£ar lighter than that 
which accumulates on the broad way. By '^e' we are to 
understand 'eternal life,' 'the life that is life indeed,' which 
later Jewish literature commonly described as the 'life of the 
age to come.*' But the difference between Jewish teaching 
and Christ's is this, that eternal life is to be won in no other 
way than by righteousness in this life : descent from Abraham 
is of no value. See Dalman, JVords ofjesus^ pp. 156-162. 

In the Book of the Secrets of Enodi (xxx. 15) God is repre- 
sented as placing the two ways before Adam. "And I gave 
him his wil^ and I showed him the two ways, the light and the 
darkness. And I said to him, ' This is good, and &is is evil ' ; 
that I should know whether he has love for Me or hate; that 

^ Lk. omits * the way' (^ M6t), and his entrance is the door of a house ; 
while that in Mt is the gate of a city. But ^ ti^i; here mav be an insertion 
(K, Old Latin and many Fathers omit), and we should read : * for wide and 
broad is the way.' 

' In the TLivoJi or Tabula of Cebes (zvi.), who was a disciple of Socrates, 
it is said : " Dost thou not see a little door, and a way in front of the door, 
which is not much crowded, but the travellers are few? That is the way 
that leadeth to the true instruction." But the Jewish two ways may be found 
Jer. zxi. 8 ; Ps. i. 6 ; Deut. zxx. 19. 

* Comp. zix. x6. This use of 'life ' (i'cin)) is not common in the Synoptics, 
but b very frequent in Jn. (iii. 36, ▼. 24, 29, 40, vL 33, 35, 5i> etc.). 


he should appear in his race as loving Me.^ Comp. 'Your God 
proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God' 
(Deut xiiL 3). It is man's love that is desired by God. It is 
by man's fautt that the good way now seems hard, and the evil 
way easy. See Polano, T?U Talmud^ p. 281. 

If we want to find the right way, we must beware of untrust- 
worthy guides (15-20). In this context, 'false prophets' can 
hardly refer to any but Scribes and Pharisees; but the saying 
is of far wider application. By the 'sheep's clothing' we are 
not to understand the usual dress of a Prophet, which does not 
seem to have been of wool but of hair (2^h. xiii. 4). It is a 
symbol for an innocent, lamb-like appearance^ craftily assumed 
for an evil purpose. 'Wolves' for the enemies of God's flock 
is an Old Testament metaphor (Ezek. xxiL 27; Zeph. iiL 3), 
and they are called ' ravening ' (apirayc^), because they are greedy 
of gain and of power. Their hypocrisy is so consummate, that 
they are difficult to detect Nevertheless, their conduct is sure 
to betray them. 

The illustration from good and worthless trees is found again 
in Jas. iii. 11, 12, where we probably have echoes of Christ's 
teaching as remembered by the Lord's brother. Christ Himself 
seems to have used the illustration more than once (xii. 33), 
and He was perhaps using one that was current (comp. Gal. v. 
22). Arrian, the pupil of Epictetus, writing about a century 
later, asks, " How can a vine grow, not vinewise, but olivewise, 
or an olive, on the other hand, not olivewise, but vinewise ? It 
is impossible " (ii. 20). And Seneca says that evil is not derived 
from good, any more than a fig-tree from an olive. " Like root, 
like fruit" is the teaching of common experience (comp. Gal. 
vi. 7), and the false teacher will in time reveal his root^ In any 
case his doom is certain (19, iii. 10). 

Verse 15 has no parallel in Lk., and it is manifest that the test of fhdt- 
bearing is one which is applicable to all persons and is not confined to 
prophets. That there will be false propnets is among the predictions 
included in the apocalyptical discourse in Mk. (xiii. 22). As we know 
from the Didaehe (zL 3-12) and other sources, abuses in connexion with 
the itinerant prophets bq^n very early in the primitive Church : see SchalTs 
edition, p. 69. Wellhausen remarks : Die fatirenden Propketen mussenfUr 
du chrisiliche Gemeinde eine wahre Landplage gewesen sein (p. 33). tt is 
possible that Mt. knew from experience ihat our Lord's test needed to be 
employed in the case of such people, and the test is in marked contrast to 
that which is suggested in the Didaehe, 

But we have not only to beware of the misleading which 
comes from others, we must be still more on our guard against 

^ The illustration does not tell us how character is formed. Man forms 
his own character, a tree does not But the character, however it be formed, 
ihows itself in the fruit. 


the misleading which comes from ourselves: false professions 
may be worse than false prophets (21-23). We may deceive 
ourselves as to the sincerity of our expressions of devotion to 
Christ They may be frequent, and even fervent, and yet be 
quite worthless. They may have been so fervent that they have 
influenced others for good, have cast out demons, and produced 
wonderful results. In spite of all that, they may be worthless, 
because they have lacked reality : they have not been done in 
the spirit of that love, without which aXL profession, even if it be 
made ' with the tongues of Angels,' is no better than ' sounding 
brass' (i Cor. xiii. i). The outward ascription of honour to 
Christ is worth little, unless there is also inward loyalty to His 
will. The threefold repetition of • in Thy Name,' which in the 
Greek is in all three cases placed first with emphasis, shows that 
they could claim to have paid outward homage to Jesus as the 
Messiah.^ And this of course was not wrong. The saying of 
' Lord, Lord ' is not condemned ; but the mere saying of it will 
not secure entrance into the Kingdom. Orthodoxy witibout love, 
without the will to do the Father's will, is of no avail. 

' Then will I pro/ess unto them ' is said with manifest reference 
to their profession, althoi^h the word is not used of their claim. 
They have professed the closest mtimacy with Him, and have 
made free and frequent use of His Name : but He disclaims all 
acquaintance with them. They do not possess the character- 
istics which He can recognize. 'Depart from Me, (all) ye 
workers of iniquity ' is from Ps. vi. 9 ; and it is worth noting 
that Mt retains the word used in the Septuagint, * lawlessness ' 
(dvo/ua), which represents the Jewish point of view, while Lk. 
(xiii. 27) has 'iniquity' or 'injustice' (dSocMt), which represents 
the Greek point of view.^ Wickedness in general is what is 
meant Separation from Christ is the penalty, and the sentence 
of banishment is pronounced by Christ Himself. Once more 
we must remark with what royal assurance Jesus speaks of His 
own authority as the final Judge of mankind, and implies that 
banishment from His presence is a punishment of the utmost 
gravity. And it is also to be noted what it is that He here 
condemns as 'iniquity.' Not acts of fraud, or violence, or 

> Lk. (xiiL 26) has *we did eat and drink in Thy prtsence* {iinbri&if aov). 
Justin Martyr {A^L i. 16 ; Try. 76) mixes the two passages : ' Did we not 
eat and drink in TAy name?* Origen {Ceis, ii. 49) does the same. It is 
clear that this passage cannot refer to the beginning of Christ's Ministry. 
There were then no people who hypocritically professed to be devoted to 
Him. Bengel adds to these professions, '* We have written commentaries on 
the Old and New Testaments ; we have preached splendid sermons." 

'No other Evangelist uses ipofdaz Mt. has it again xiii. 41, xxiii. 28, 
sdv. 12 ; and in xiii 41, as here, it is in connexion with the Day of Judgment. 
This revelation of Himself as Judge cannot belong to His early teadiing. 


sensuality; but the religious professions of those who know 
and do not practise ; who can see, and perhaps feel, the beauty 
of His teaching and character, and can inspire others with a 
love for it which has no place in themselves. It is ** the piety 
of sentiment" that is thus condemned (P. Girodon, S. Luc^ 

p. 237)- 

Vn. 24-fiO. The Judgments which await the Members 

of the Kingdom^ 

In both reports of the Sermon the parable of the Wise and 
Foolish Builders forms the impressive conclusion, and the most 
impressive phrase in it is the repeated and very comprehensive 
introduction to each half of it : ' Every one which heareth these 
words of Mine* ^ The well-being or ruin of every one of those 
who hear what has just been spoken is to depend upon whether 
they obey or not The claim is tremendous, and it is made, as 
before, with such serene confidence, as of a Teacher who has no 
shade of doubt as to His own authority, or as to the supreme 
importance to His hearers of the message which He brings. 
And this enormous claim is made without argument or 
production of credentials : quiet assertion is the only instrument 
that is used : */say to you.' The Carpenter of Nazareth stands 
before the whole race of mankind and tells them that He has 
laid down principles of conduct for the guidance of every one of 
them, and that they will neglect His precepts at their peril. He 
"stood forth as a Legislator, not as a commentator, and 
commanded and prohibited, and repealed, and promised, on 
His own bare word.'' And it is a remarkable thing that so many 
of those who would r^ard Him as only the best of human 
teachers, nevertheless admit the majestic authority of His 
teaching (see Maclaren, ad loc). 

Throughout this epilogue to the Sermon (13-27), as else- 
where, Jesus divides mankind into two classes and no more; 
either on the narrow or on the broad way ; either a good tree or 
a corrupt one ; either a wise or a foolish builder ; ^ in a word, 
either for Christ or against Him. It may be very hard, in most 

^ The parable is an expansion of Prov. x. 25 : ' When the whirlwind 


lie parable of the Ten Virgins, it is the wisdom and folly of the 
agents that is insisted upon, rather than their religious character. .This is 
frequent in Christ's teaching and in Scripture generally. It is often more 
easy to judge of wisdom and folly ; and by many people this point of view is 
more readily appreciated than the moral one. In Lk. there are no adjectives 
applied to the builders, neither ^p6vi/jLot nor fiMp6t, which are the epithets 
used of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. Both words are more common in 
Mt than elsewhere in the N.T. 


cases, for us to decide to which class other people belong ; there 
seem to be endless gradations, without a decisive line anywhere. 
And it is our wisdom to assume that all, about whom any doubt 
is possible (that is, the enormous majority), are on the right side 
of the line, wherever the line may be. God knows, and we 
leave all that flows from that knowledge to Him. But about 
aurselves^ each one of us knows, not indeed as well as He does 
(far from it), but sufficiently well to form a judgment on which to 
act. Do we know that we are trying to live according to the 
Sermon on the Mount? If not, the warning about the Foolish 
Builder is for us. 

The metaphor of building is specially appropriate. The man 
is not pitching a tent for a few hours, or at most for a few days, 
with the probability of being able to move it in case of danger, 
but building a house to dwell in permanently, with the certainty 
that danger must arise sometimes. And that is what we are 
employed upon here : each one is building up his character, — 
that character which is the one thing which he can take with 
him, which he must take with him, into the other world. And 
the choice which he has is not between building and not building 
(he must build some kind of character), but between building 
well and building foolishly. And the only way to build well is 
to build upon a rock, the rock of Christ's teaching and Christ's 
example. But Divine instruction, intended for building up, 
must, if neglected, result in disastrous ruin.^ 'Great was the 
fall thereof does not mean that the building was a large one, 
but that the whole edifice fell (or ' fell in^ <rw€ir€<r€y, as Lk. says), 
so that the ruin was complete. The warning applies to small 
characters as well as great, to the humblest disciples as well as 
to Apostles; and the whole audience is left with the crash of 
the unreal disciple's house sounding in their ears. ' When Jesus 
ended these words ' it was * the multitudes ' who * were astonished 
at His teaching ' ; ^ and, according to both reports, the last word 
which fell upon their ears was 'great': 'the fall thereof was 

The formula, ' It came to pass when Jesus ended ' {iyfptro St€ iTiXeaey 6 
*liiaoSt), occurs after all the five great discourses in Mt. (vii. 28, 3d. I, ziii. 53, 
xiz. I, zxvi. i). This produces the impression that the Evangelist intends us 
to understand that, in each case, all the words in the preceding discourse 
were uttered at one and the same time ; whereas it is almost certain that in 
each case the discourse is a compilation. With regard to this difficulty we 
may choose one of these three alternatives, (i) ML thought that the time at 

^ " Rabba said : Holy Writ does not tell us that to study God's commands 
shows a good understanding, but to do them. We must learn, however, 
before we can perform ; and he who acts contrary through life to the teaching 
of Uie Most High had better never have been bom '* (Talmud). 

' fot th^ meaning of i^ov^la see Abbott, fohannine Vocabulary ^ 1C62 ff, 


which the sayings were delivered was of no importance, and that he was quite 
free to assign any time that he pleased to them. They were the words of the 
Messiah ; Uiat was all that was important : an Evaneelist might arrange them 
as he found convenient, or thought most effective for his purpose. (2) Mt 
had no intention of fixing any times for these five collections of sayings ; in 
using this formula he was merely marking the conclusion of a paxticQlar 
section of the Gospel. (3) The sayings had already been coUectea into set 
discourses in the sources which he used, and he himself believed that each 
had been uttered as a whole at the time indicated. In the last case, the 
formula, * It came to pass when Jesus ended/ may not be the Evangelist's 
own remark, but may have come from the source. It is in favour of this that 
the esqpression ' it came to pass when ' {iy^vero Hre) occurs nowhere else in 
Mt, but only in these five passages (see Hawkins, Ifora Syn. pp. 132 f.). 

For the g^eat impression which Christ's teaching made upon His hearers 
comp. xiii. 54, zxii. 22, 33; Mk. i. 22, vi. 2, xi. 18; Lk. iv. 22, 32; 
Jn. vii. 15, 46. 

With the words, 'were astonished at His teaching,'^ Mt 
returns to the narrative of Mk. (i. 22), into which he has 
inserted three chapters. He follows Mk. in saying that it was 
the authoritative manner of teaching that so amazed them. The 
Rabbis were accustomed to quote some authority for what they 
said, either Scripture, or tradition, or the utterance of some 
teacher of repute. Christ spoke on His own authority, an 
authority which He sometimes said that He had received from 
the Father (xxviii. 18; Jn. v. 27, x. 18, 3cvii. 2), but which He 
seems, as a rule, to have allowed to make itself felt without 
support or justification. He habitually taught (^v &8acrico>v) in 
this unusual manner ; and, while it was often resented by those 
who taught in the traditional way, it made the people very 
attentive to hear Him, they 'hung upon Him, listening' (Lk. 
xix. 48). But neither this nor His miracles caused Him to be 
commonly recognized as the Messiah. The Baptist's witness to 
His Messiahship had not been heard by very many, and had 
been perhaps forgotten. The multitudes regarded Him rather 
as a great Prophet, either a new one or one of the old ones risen 

Justin M. ( Try, 35) gives as sayings of Christ two different quotations of 
ver. 15, in the first case mixing it with xxiv. 5, and between these quotations 
he gives as a saying of Christ what seems to be a reminiscence of i Cor. 
xi. 18, 19. *'For He said : Many shall come in My name, outwardly clad 
in skins of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. And : There shall 
be schisms and heresies. And : Beware of false prophets, who shall come to 
you, outwardly clad in skins of sheep, but within they are ravening wolves." 
In the Clementine Homilies (xvi. 21) we have a similar mixture of Matthew 
and Corinthians quoted as a saying of Christ " For there will be, as the 
Lord said, false apostles (2 Cor. xi. 13), false prophets, heresies (l Cor. 
xi. 19), lustings for rule " (0<Xa/)x^9 frequent in Plutarch). See small print 
at the end of ch. xxiv. 

* The force of the imperfect, i^trkinaawTO, is that they were more imd 
more amazed, their astonishment went op and on. 


* Ravening wolves in sheep's clothing ' is the first of the stem 
metaphors directed against the Pharisees which have been 
preserved by Mt alone. Comp. 'blind guides* (xv, 14, xxiiL 
16, 24), and 'whited sepulchres, outwardly beautiful, but full 
of all uncleanness' (xxiiL 27). Other graphic traits of these 
hypocrites are their 'sounding a trumpet before them' when 
they give alms (vi. 2), their * laying heavy burdens ' on others and 
not stirring a finger to remove them (xxiii. 4), and their ' straining 
out a gnay while they ' swallow a camel ' (xxiii. 24) : and all 
these are given by Mt alone. 

Ch. viL is not veiy fiill of expressions which are characteristic of Mt. 
We have irai l8o6 (4), inroKpiHjs (5), 6 rariip ip roit otfpavoif (ii, 21), 
MvfM (15), awrpbit (17, 18), tpphviiutn (24), puapfn (26). Peculiar to Mt. : ^ 
PoffiKtUi rQp QipopQv ; peculiar to this chapter : viarvi (13), tOpixiapot (13), 

?f^'h (25, 27). 

Vm. 1-IX. 84. IllmtraHons of the MessiaXs Work. 

Topical Miracles, 

Mt omits the healing of the demoniac in the synagogue at 
Capernaum (Mk. L 23-28 ; Lk. iv. 33-36), and transfers to the 
first place the healing of a leper, which Mk. places later, but 
without saying when it took place (i. 40-45; Lk. v. 12-16). 
No doubt Mt had reasons for this change, but they are not 
obvious. The leper's act of worship, and extraordinary strength 
of faith may have seemed to the Evangelist more suitable for 
a first detailed account of one of Christ's works of mercy. More- 
over, Christ's charge to the healed leper, to go and show himself 
to the priest and offer what Moses commanded, is an example 
of His fulfilling and not destroying the Law (v. 17). But it is 
clear that the leper was not cleansed in the presence of ' great 
multitudes' (viii. i). In that case, the charge to him to 'tell 
no man ' would have been out of place. But before examining 
any of these illustrations of Christ's miracles the following 
weighty words are worthy of consideration. 

"The historian who tries to construct a reasoned picture 
of the Life of Christ finds that he cannot dispense with miracles. 
He is confronted with the fact that no sooner had the life of 
Jesus ended in apparent failure and shame, than the great body 
of Christians passed over at once to the fixed belief that He 
was God. By what conceivable process could the men of that 
day have arrived at such a conclusion, if there had been nothing 
in His life to distinguish it from that of ordinary men? He 
did not work the kind of miracles which they expected. But 
this makes it all the more necessary that there must have 
b^en 9omethin^ about the lifQ which they could recognize as 


supernatural and divine. Eliminate miracles from the careet 
of Jesus, and the belief of Christians, from the first moment 
that we have undoubted contemporary evidence of it (say 
^^' 5^)9 becomes an insoluble enigma" (Sanday, OutlineSy 
pp. 113, 114). 

"We cannot separate the wonderful life, or the wonderful 
teaching, from the wonderful works. They involve and inter- 
penetrate and presuppose each other, and form in their insoluble 
combination one harmonious picture" (Illingworth, Divine 
Immanence^ p. 90). 

To those who believe that Jesus Christ was what He claimed 
to be, that is, to those who believe in the Incarnation, there is 
no difficulty about miracles. They are the natural works of 
a supernatural Person. If He was not supernatural, then 
difficulty arises. But in that case we tear up the New 
Testament, and the history of the Christian Church becomes 

In the summary of Christ's wonderful works of healing 
given as an introduction to the account of His ministry (iv. 24J 
no mention is made of cleansing lepers, and we are probably to 
understand that this narrative (viii. 2-4) refers to the first instance 
of Christ cleansing a leper. In that case the man's faith was 
aJl the more remarkable. Leprosy was believed to be incurable 
by human means ; ^ and, if the man had never heard of a cure, 
his *Thou canst make me clean' exhibits marvellous trust in 
Christ's /^Of^r. *If Thou wilt' looks as if he had less trust in 
Christ's goodness \ but it perhaps means no more than that he 
thought himself unworthy of such a boon. His 'worshipping' 
Him perhaps meant no more than special reverence to a Prophet, 
or was preparatory to asking a great boon, but it may have 
indicated something more. All three Evangelists mention the 
prostration, but each in a different way. * Worship ' (a-poo-Kwetv) 
is a favourite word with Mt, who first uses it of the adoration 
of the Magi (ii. 2, 8, 11, iv. 9, 10, viii. 2, ix. 18, xiv. 33, eta). 
It is rare in Mk. and Lk., but common in Jn., who perhaps 
always uses it of the worship of a Divine Person. It well 
expresses the attitude which befits all who come to the Messiah 
for the blessings of His healing power ; and this act of worship 
— so different from the behaviour of the demoniac in the 
synagogue — may have been another reason for Mt's placing this 

* It has been contended (Wright» Si, Luke, p. 148) that *' Biblical leprosy 
was a mild skin disease, never tatal," quite different from modem leprosy. 
But what we call leprosy was known then. Other diseases of the skm did 
not make a man ceremonially unclean ; and how could a mild skin disease be 
regarded as (in a very special way) a Divine visitation ? Ps. li. 7 points to 
leprosy as symbolical in its ravages to sin. See Hastin^^s' /^^., art. 
* i^eprosy.' 


miracle first in his three triplets of specimens of the Messiah's 
mighty works.^ 

Mk. mentions that Christ was 'moved by compassion' 
(airXayxyurOtk), which implies that the man's sufferings were 
gieaty and 'the beloved physician' tells us that the man was 
'full of leprosy.' All three have the Hebraistic amplification 
that Christ ' stretched out His hand ' to touch him, which Weiss 
strangely explains as " in order to prevent the contact with the 
unclean and contagious diseasa" Is it credible that Jesus 
was afraid of being infected? Would any one keep the man 
at arm's length for fear of infection, and yet touch him ? The 
outstretched hand is the expression of the compassion (xiv. 31), 
and is the answer to the leper's timid ' if Thou wilt' It confirms 
his faith in Christ's power and assures him of His goodness, and 
thus completes the preparation of the sufferer's mind for the 
cleansing. The healing touch follows, and ^straightway his 
leprosy was cleansed.' All three preserve the * straightway,' for 
the sudden cure of such a malady was one of the astounding 
features of the miracle. All three also mention that Christ 
touched the leper, which involved becoming ceremonially 
unclean. But this result is not certain. Lk. says that the 
man was ' full of leprosy ' ; and, by a curious provision of the 
Law, if *the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the 
plague, then the priest shall pronounce him clean' (Lev. xiii. 
12, 13). Yet what follows indicates that this leper was not thus 
exempt. We may conclude, therefore, that Jesus touched the 
leper on the same principle as that on which He healed on the 
Sabbath. The law of charity is above the ceremonial law, and 
the touch was necessary to assure the sufferer of Christ's absolute 
sympathy and readiness to help. 

Perhaps the touch was also necessary for the sake of the 
millions who were to read of this cleansing. No moral pollution 
can be so great as to make Christ shrink from contact with 
a sinner, who comes to Him with a desire to be freed from his 
plague, and with the belief that He has the power to free him. 
Christ's miracles are parables. That was part of their purpose 
when they were wrought, and it is their chief meaning to us. 
There seems to be nothing unreasonable in the thought that 
some of the details were selected, not because they were 
essential to the wonderful works, but because of their spiritual 

Christ's charge to the cleansed leper : ' see thou tell no man ; 
but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that 

1 Mk. (L 41) has no 'Lord' (Ed/Ke) in the leper's address; but both Mt. 
and Lk. (y. 12) insert it It is common in the Egyptian papyri, in the sense 
of ' my lord,' or ' sir ' (Abbott, /ohannim Grammar, 3680). 


Moses commanded,' has been variously explained. Mk. tells us 
that it was given with great strictness (c/xjSpi/ATorofKvos), as 
something that Christ regarded as urgent^ Perhaps the 
principal reason was to ensure that the man did not assume 
that his miraculous cleansing dispensed him from obedience to 
the law. But Christ may also have wished to preserve the man 
from unhealthy boasting about the wonderful cure, and the 
people from being excited to religious or political fiuiatidsm 
(Jn. vL 15); and both these motives were probably present in 
other cases in which Christ enjoined silence on those whom He 
healed (xiL 16; Mk. v. 43, viL 36, comp. ix. 9=:Mt. xviL 9). 
The danger of popular fanaticism is perhaps part of the reason 
for His silencing the demons when they would have revealed 
who He was (Mk. i. 25, 34). The time had not yet come for 
such a revelation to be made publicly, and demons were not 
proper apostles of it at any time. Comp. xii. 19, 39, xviL 9. 

It has been urged that these injunctions to silence are proof 
that Jesus, during His lifetime, never claimed to be the Messiah. 
If He had. He would not have forbidden people to say that He 
was the Messiah. If He wrought mighty works as evidence that 
He was the Messiah, He would not have told those on whom 
He wrought them to say nothing about it. From this apparent 
inconsistency we are asked to draw the conclusion that most of 
the miracles and all of the injunctions to silence are fictions. 
After His death, His followers believed Jesus to have been God. 
Then of course He must have done great wonders. But (un- 
believers might ask) why did not the wonders cause Him to 
be recognized as Divine at the time? To which His followers 
invented the reply, that He had forbidden people to make 
known His wonderful works. 

This explanation is much less easy to believe than the plain 
statements of the Gospels, which are too nearly contemporaneous 
with the facts to be set aside in this peremptory way. The 
seeming inconsistency is a strong guarantee for the truth of the 
narratives, and invention is here very improbable. We seriously 
misstate the case when we say, Jesus wrought miracles to prove 
that He was the Messiah, and then forbade people to proclaim 
Him as such. Miracles did not prove that He was the Messiah ; 
at most they only proved that He was a Prophet : and He had 
other reasons for working them. Among these reasons we may 
securely place His desire to relieve suffering, to benefit men's 

1 Mk. also says that Christ ' tnmed him oat * {i^4paXv) or ' dismissed him 
with urgency,* as if the man were not sufficiently docile. Salmon thinks that 
Mk. does not entirely approve of the leper's conduct {TA^ Human Element^ 
p. 149). In any case, we see how anxious Jesus was not to overthrow the 
existing ecclesiastical system prematurely. Where it was blameless, Ue 
strongly supported it ; comp. xxiii.' 3. 


souls by first healing their bodies, to attract attention to His 
teaching. Many came to be healed, or to see mighty works, 
and then stayed to listen. The reasons suggested above for the 
injunctions to silence are adequate ; but there may easily have 
been others of a deeper nature which lie beyond our ken. See 
a helpful paper by Sanday in the Journal of Theological Studies, 
April 1904. 

'For a testimony to them' is in all three. 'Them' is 
primarily the priests, but it may include the people; and it is 
the gift which the cleansed leper must offer that is the 'testi- 
mony.' It would show that Christ did not disregard the Law, 
as some had supposed that He did (v. 1 7), if it was known that 
He had ordered one whom He had healed to do all that Moses 
commanded (Lev. xiv.). Thus this incident illustrates in both 
directions Christ's treatment of the ceremonial law. When it 
came into collision with the moral law, He disregarded it ; the 
lower law must give way. He did not allow ceremonial defile- 
ment to stand in the way of showing sympathy with the leper by 
touching him. But, when there was no such collision. He 
upheld the ceremonial law. " He condemned neither the wash- 
ings nor the differences of meats, but He did strenuously 
condemn the confusion of such mere rules with principles of 
religion and morality, i,e, with the substance of the Law and the 
Prophets, and He defended the violation of such rules, not as a 
habit but when the cause was adequate " (Roitf /udaislic Christi- 
anityy p. 29). 

The healing of the Centurioyis Servant (5-13) at a distance 
is not recorded by Mk. and is placed by Lk. (vii. 2-10) immedi- 
ately after the Sermon, The utterances are given in almost 
exactly the same words by Mt and Lk., but the narrative portion 
differs.^ In Lk. the centurion sends first elders and then friends 
to intercede for his servant ; here he comes himself. The details 
of the story had got changed in transmission, and each Evangelist 
received a different version of it Jn. iv. 46-54 probably refers 
to a different incident 

It has been remarked that centurions have a good character 
in the New Testament (xxviL 54; Acts x. 22, xxii. 26, xxiii. 17, 
23, 24, xxiv. 23, xxvii. 43). Roman organization was one of the 
chief instruments of good order in the world, and it produced, 
and was maintained by, excellent individuals, such as this 

^ By placing /cov before hvh r^ criyi^^ Mt. throws the emphasb on the 
sabstantive : ' enter under my roof,* The centurion asks a great boon, but 
not such a sacrifice on Christ's part as that. This nicety is lost in Lk. vii. 6. 
Abbott, Johan, Gr, 2559. In Syr-Sin. the man is called a ' chiliarch ' or 
tribune. Wellhausen and Zahn make ver. 7 interrogative : ' Shall I come 
and heal him ? ' Fritzsche would make it a question of surprise ; ' Am I to 
come and heal him?' 


centurion, who had built a synagogue at Capernaum — 'our 
synagogue' as the elders call it (Lk. vii. 5). His saying that 
he was 'not worthy' that Christ should enter his house 
perhaps indicates that he was not a proselyte: he does not 
ask that the famous Rabbi should pollute Himself by entering 
the house of a Gentile. He knows from personal experience 
what a word from a person in authority can do without per- 
sonal presence. He obeys orders sent to him, and he issues 
orders which are obeyed. Christ has authority over unseen 
powers, and He has only to speak the word, and the servant 
will be healed. 

Both narratives record that 'Jesus marvelled' (^^av/uiao-cv) 
at the centurion's faith. Those who attribute omniscience to 
the incarnate Word must explain how He could ' marvel ' at any- 
thing. 'He marvelled because of their unbelief (Mk. vL 6). 
"The surprises of life, especially those which belong to its 
ethical and spiritual side, created genuine astonishment in the 
human mind of Christ" (Swete). Comp. xxvi. 40; Mk. viii. 12. 
He tells us Himself that He was ignorant of the date of the Day 
of Judgment (Mk. xiii. 32). Therefore ignorance was possible 
for Him, and the only question is as to its extent This we 
must reverently consider with the aid of Scripture. He could 
grow in wisdom (Lk. iL 52) ; and He sometimes asked for in- 
formation: 'How many loaves have ye? go and see.' 'How 
long time is it since this hath come to him ? ' 'Where have ye 
laid him?' Till He reached it, He expected that the barren 
fig-tree would have fruit. When He taught in the synagogue. 
He exhibited no knowledge of the whole of the Scriptures : ' He 
opened the book and found the place' (Lk. iv. 17) and read. 
On the other hand. He could read men's hearts, and He could 
know what was taking place at a distance. The principle which 
can be traced seems to be this : that, where knowledge which 
was necessary for His work could be obtained by ordinary 
means, then He used ordinary means ; but that, where it could 
not thus be obtained. He obtained the knowledge supematurally, 
— perhaps we may say by revelation from His Father. It was 
not necessary for His work that He should know all about the 
authorship and date of the books of the Old Testament ; and it 
is no true reverence to claim such knowledge for Him. In such 
matters He probably accepted what He had been taught, and to 
have known more might have hindered His work rather than 
helped it ; therefore " He condescended not to know." Scripture 
seems to show that " He was truly limited in knowledge within 
the sphere of His humanity," and that "He withdrew from 
operation {ab opere retraxit) His power and majesty." But the 
subject is a deep mystery, and reverent caution in drawing 


inferences is necessary. See Gore, Dissertations^ pp, 7 1 ff. ; 
Hastings' DB. and DCG,^ art 'Kenosis.' 

The declaration, 'With no one have I found such faith in 
Israel,' suggests the thought that there are others outside Israel 
who are like this centurion.^ Without having the spiritual 
advantages of Jews, they exceed the righteousness of Jews. 
Then ought they not to be admitted to the Kingdom ? * Yes,' 
says our Lord, 'and not only so, but many Jews will be excluded 
from it' The verses (11, 12) in which this reversal of human 
judgments is declared are given by Lk. in quite another con- 
nexion (xiii. 28-30) and in somewhat dififerent words. In this 
Jewish-Christian Gospel there are clear indications that the 
Gentiles are to be admitted to the Kingdom, and this is one of 
them : comp. xxL 43, xxii. 9, xxiv. 14, xxv. 32, xxviii. 19. The 
other Hebrew Gospel has the same (Jn. x. 16, xii. 20). The 
words come partly from Is. xlv. 6 and xlix. 12 ; comp. lix. 19; 
Jer. iii. 18; Mai. L 11. What they foretell is the exact opposite 
of Jewish expectations. The Jew expected that the Gentiles 
would be put to shame by the sight of the Jews in bliss. Here 
it is the Gentiles who sit down to the banquet with the Patriarchs, 
while the excluded Jews gnash their teeth. A banquet is so 
often the expression of great joy in human life that it is natural 
to use it as a symbol of the joys of a future life (xxvi. 29 ; 
Lk. xiv. 15, xxiL 30; Rev. iii. 20, xix. 9). The Jews seem to 
have understood the banquet literally. In the Apocalypse of 
Banich (xxix. 4) Leviathan and Behemoth are to be given as 
food to the faithful remnant On 'the sons of the Kingdom' 
see Deissmann, Bible Studies^ p. 162. It is strange irony that 
the sons of the Kingdom are excluded from the Kingdom. 

The narratives of the healing of the Jewish leper, who is told 
to observe the Law, and of the servant of the heathen centurion, 
who is shown to be worthy of the Kingdom, are well placed by 
Mt. immediately after the Sermon in which Christ sets forth the 
Christian's relation to the Jewish Law ; just as the Magi come 
after the shepherds, and sick from all Syria are healed after many 
healings of Jews in Galilee (iv. 23, 24). 

There now follows the third instance in Mt's first triplet of 
miraculous healings (14, 15). We have had leprosy and palsy, 
and we now have fever, — the healing of Petet^s mother-in-law 
(TTcv^cpa), which is recorded by all three. And all three mention 
that, directly she was healed, she ministered to Jesus and those 

^ Origen points out that Jairus, who was not only ' in Israel ' but a 
synagogue-ruler, did not ask for a mere word, but said ' Come quickly,' and 
that Martha and Mary said that, if Christ had been there, their brother would 
not have died. And yet Wellhausen suggests that this centurion is a Doppel- 


with Him. This showed the completeness of the cure, and it 
may imply that she was healed near the time of the mid-day 
meal. As it was not until evening that demoniacs and sick were 
brought to Him^ we may conclude that the day was a Sabbath. 

It is dear from i Cor. iz. $ that Peter was married, and Clement of 
Alexandria {Stfvm. iii. 6) says that his wife helped the Apostle in ministering 
to women. Here Mt. says that her mother mmistered to Jesus : a^rrf is the 
true reading. Mt has not mentioned the presence of disciples, and therefore 
does not write <Utois, as Mk. does. Note the change of tense : she rose once 
for all and continued ministering {frt^pBri koX 9<^«^ec). 

In what follows (i6) we have instructive examples of the way in which 
Mt. treats the narrative of Mk. (i) He omits ' when the sun did set,' which 
is not needed after ' when even was come,* and he also omits the second 
mention of 'those that were sick.' (a) He emphasizes the miraculous 
character of the cures by sayine that the evil spirits were cast out ' with a 
word,' and that 'all' of * many were healed, not 'many' of 'all.' (3) He 
omits Christ's silencing the demons, who would have proclaimed who He 
was in defiance of His will. (4) He adds a fulfilment of Scripture. Besides 
these notable alterations he makes cfaancteristic changes of wording ; s.^. he 
substitutes, as often, an aorist for an imperfect and at the same time adopts a 
verb which he prefers instead of the one used by Mk. (rpooi^yryraF for 
I0«/Mr). See small print at the end of the chapter. 

Mt. concludes his first triplet of miracles with a summary of 
many more and a quotation from, the Hebrew of Is. liiL 4, the 
Septuagint being different and less suitable for his purpose. The 
original passage refers to one of the Prophet's own contempor- 
aries, who in a special sense was the Lord's Servant, and who 
had endured sufferings which should have fallen on his fellows, 
and had thereby won a great deliverance. It is impossible, and 
also unnecessary, to determine what the Evangelist understood 
by 'took' (€ka^€y) and 'bare' (i/idfrrateyy It at least must 
mean that Christ removed their sufferings from the sufferers. 
He can hardly have meant that the diseases were transferred to 
Christ. But we may understand him as meaning that Christ's 
sympathy with the sufferers was so intense that He really felt 
their weaknesses and pains ; and perhaps also that the physical 
exhaustion caused by the frequent exertion of healing power 
was very great. 

After three miracles of healing (a-15) we have three mirades 
of power (23-341 ix. 1-8), over the forces of nature, over evK 
spirits, and over sin and its consequences. But first we have 
the warnings to two aspirants to discipleship (18-22). Lk. places 

^ See Deissmann, Bidle Studies, pp. 102, 103. Origen qaotes as a saying 
of Clirist : ' On account of the weak I was weak, and on account or the 
hungry I was hungry, and on account of the thirsty I was thirsty' (Resch, 
Agrapha, 2nd ed., p. 132). In the Testaments we have something similar, 
where Joseph speaks of his care for his brethren after Jacob's death: "all 
their suffering was my suffering, and all their sickness {fuCKaida) was my 
infirmity (dJ-J!Frcca),'' zviL 7. 


these two incidents later in the ministry (ix. 57-60), with a third 
case which Mt. omits ; and it is not obvious why Mt. puts be- 
tween two triplets of miracles material which seems to have little 
connexion with either. The replies given to these two aspirants 
are impressive in their sternness, and would serve to sift out the 
worthless and confirm the weak ; and they do not stand alone. 
Compare the sayings about putting the hand to the plough and 
looking back (Lk. iz. 62); taking up the cross (x. 38); hating 
one's own father, mother, and wife (Lk. xiv. 26) ; selling all that 
one has and giving to the poor (xix. 21). Such words as these 
are a warning that those who would become the disciples of the 
Messiah must count the cost before joining Him, and that those 
who have joined Him must constantly remember what they have 
undertaken. They must remember the conditions of His service. 

The two men who are here brought before us (19-22) are of 
different, and almost opposite types. The one is too forward, the 
other is inclined to shirk, and Christ treats each of them in accord- 
ance with their special weakness. He reminds both of them of 
the conditions of discipleship. But in the case of the Scribe He 
does this in a way calculated to check weak impulsiveness ; in the 
case of the other He checks a weak disposition to hang back. 

The Scribe had apparently been a hearer of Christ's teaching ; 
and now, carried away by a sincere, but not very deep feeling of 
enthusiasm, he proposes to become a permanent disciple. With 
easy self-confidence, he makes a promise of following Christ for 
better, for worse, without stopping to consider what such a 
promise involves. Christ takes no advantage of the enthusiast's 
rashness ; He will have no unreal disciples. But He does not 
repel the man. He gently reminds him what becoming a follower 
of the Son of Man involves.^ Is this Scribe, who had been 
accustomed to a comfortable life, prepared for such a life as His, 
which began in a borrowed stable, and ended in a borrowed 
tomb? For other checks on inconsiderate impulse comp. Lk. 
XL 27, xxii. 33. 

The second is already a disciple, and he thinks that what 
seems to be a pressing duty may excuse him for a time from 
Christ's service. He is as sincere as the Scribe. He means to 
go away and perform this duty, and when he has performed it to 
return. But Christ knew the man better than he knew himself. 
We may believe that He saw, at the bottom of the very reason- 
able request, a wish to escape from duties which were quite as 
imperative, but not so interesting, as the fimeral ceremonies; 
and that He also saw that the return home would be fatal : he 

' For the title ' Son of Man/ here used for the first time, see the Introduc- 
tion (p. xxv) ; and for the Scribe's ' Master ' (Ae9(£<riraXe), the Greek equiva- 
lent of ' Rabbi,' see Dalman, IVords of Jesus, p. 338. 


would never come back.^ Christ's reply to him is obscure to 
us ; but its figurative language would be perfectly intelligible to 
the disciple. ' Follow Me ' is a refusal of his request : that much 
is quite plain. ' Leave the dead to bury their own dead ' seems 
to mean that the spiritually dead, those who have never felt the 
call to a higher life, are always numerous enough to perform 
such ordinary duties as burying the dead ; and such occupations 
are suitable to them; they are 'their own dead.' But perhaps 
the chief meaning of this perplexing 8a3ring is to remind die man 
of the lofty claims which the discipleship that he has chosen has 
on him. Like the high priest (Lev. zxi. ix) and the Nazirite 
(Num. vi. 6, 7), his life is a consecrated one, and he must not 
' make himself unclean for his father or for his mother.' ' He 
that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me ' 
(x. 37). Who is it that with such quiet assurance makes such 
claims upon men ? 

The second triplet of miracles consists of miracles of power 
over natural, supernatural, and spiritual forces, — storm, demons, 
and sin. Or we may say that in them Christ brings peace to 
nature, to those afflicted by evil spirits, and to tihe stricken 
conscience. The triplet begins with the stilling of the tempest on 
the lahe (23-27), and the first two miracles occur in the same 
order in all three Gospels. 

Apparently it was great fatigue, produced by the demands 
which the crowds made upon Him, which caused Jesus to take 
refuge in the boat ; and this is the only case in which we read of 
Him as being asleep. His sleep is in marked contrast to the 
noise of the storm and the panic of the disciples. The reality 
of His human nature appears not only in His weariness and 
slumber, but also in His unconsciousness to His surroundings. 
He needs to be awakened. And then He who had rebuked 
both the impetuous Scribe and the half-hearted disciple (20, 22), 
now rebukes both the tempestuous elements and the timid crew.' 
The tempest was no ordinary one, and the disciples, accustomed 
as they were to the violence of this mountain lake, were terrified. 

^ It is probable that the fiitfaer was still alive. At the present day, an 
Oriental, with his father sitting by hb side, has been known to say respecting his 
future projects : ' But I must fint bui^ my fi&ther.' In any case this disciple 
was not indispensable for the funeral r^tes ; the father was sure of burial, and 
(as Chrysostom and Gregory the Great point out), if it is a eood deed to bury 
the dead, it is still better to preach the Gospel and rescue oUiers from deatib. 

* Mk. and Lk. place the calming of the waves before the calming of the 
disciples' fears, whidi is the probable order. The disciples would profit by 
His rebuke far better after their terror was removed. Mt. pointedly reverses 
the order, inserting his favourite rbrt after the rebuke to the men and t>efore 
the rebuke to the winds and waves. He also inserts dXiydrioroc into Mk.'s 
narrative both here and. zvi. 8. In each place it seems to represent that part 
of Christ's rebuke which Mt. omito. 


Christ's * Why are ye so fearful ? ' may be a rhetorical question 
to emphasize the rebuke. But, if it is an expression of surprise, 
it is a counterpart to ver. 10. There He marvelled at the great 
faith of a heathen soldier; here He marvels at the little faith 
of His own disciples. The question reminds us of ' How is it 
that ye sought Me ? ' Just as His parents ought to have known 
where to find Him, so the disciples ought to have known that 
with Him they were sure of protection. That they should pray 
' Save, Lord ' was well ; it was ' we perish ' (which is in all three 
accounts) that was amiss, for it showed that they put little trust 
in His presence. But the way in which their piayer was granted 
greatly impressed them. It was contrary to all their experience 
of the lake that there 'a great calm' immediately 
after the wind ceased, and they recognize the presence of super- 
natural power which is new to them. They had witnessed 
wonderful cures ; but this was a miracle on their own element, 
and their amazement and fear (Mk.) were in proportion. And 
we should remember that this thrice-told narrative comes from 
those who were experts in the matter, and that the suggestion 
of a mere coincidence between Christ's waking and the cessation 
of the storm is out of court A sudden drop in the wind is 
possible, but that would not at once calm the sea. Comp. Ps. 
Ixxxix. 9, cviL 39 ; 3 Mac. iz. 8. 

Some of the peculiarities in Mt.'s account are of special 
interest Instead of saying, as the others do, that a ' storm of 
wind' (XatXa^ dy4/iov) came down on the lake, he says that 
there was a ' great quaking in the sea ' (o-cur/ios fjJya^ iyivero h 
rg Oakda-tr^f which may refer merely to the disturbance caused 
by the wind. But it may also mean that there was an earthquake 
under the lake (Gen. viL iz).^ Again, Mt. alone makes the 
disciples address Christ as 'Lord' (Kvptc). ' Mk. has 'Teacher' 
(AtSlo-fcoXc) and Lk. has his favourite "Eirun^ra ('Master'), both 
of which probably represent * RabbL' Side by side with this 
change from 'Rabbi' to 'Lord,' Mt attributes the wondering 
exclamation about the obedience of the winds and the sea to 
'the men^ (o2 8i SyOponrot idavfioarav Xcyovres icr.A.). This is 
a very unusual expression to be applied to the disciples, and it 
looks as if Mt had chosen it as a contrast to ' Lord,' which is 
also a word of his own choosing. Mt perhaps desires to point 
out how much this miracle revealed of the supernatural character 
of the Messiah, and the way in which it emphasized the difference 
between Him and EEis followers. Some would refer ' the men ' 
to the hired servants (Mk. i. 20) who may have been with the 

^ Everywhere else in Mt., and indeed in the N.T., ffeurfxos means an 
earthquake. See notes on xxvii. 51 and zzviii 2 ; and comp. Jfer. xxiii. 19 ; 
Nah. 1 3. 


Apostles, or to fishermen in other boats near at hand, or to 
spectators on the shore, or to the people who heard of the miracle 
afterwards. But of all this, not one word is said ; and would 
Mt. mean by ' the men ' people whom he had not mentioned ? 
Moreover, Mk. and Lk. attribute the exclamation to the disciples ; 
and if ' the men ' means the disciples, we can see why Mt. omits 
their 'great fear' and substitutes 'wonder,' for he often spares 
the Twelve. Comp. xiii. 16-17, xiv. 33, xvL 9, xviL 9, 23, 
xviiL I, xzvi. 43 ; m all these places Mt omits details in the 
narrative of Mk. which are unfavourable to the disciples. Lk. 
gives both the fear and the wonder. 

The account of the storm in the Testameiits should be compared ; but the 
wording is closer to Mk. and Lk. than to Mt The following expressions 
are remarkable : ylwerai x^^l*^ <r^dp^, koX XcuXa^ dp4/tov fuydXif, ad 
iwKiifHhBji rh rXotor Oddrwr, 4v rpiKV/iltut wepifniffffdfuww, &<rr9 koI awrplfita' 
Bai a&r6. (bs M HraAffaro 6 x^'/miii', i^Baat rh aKd^at M r^t 7^$ iw elpi^r^ 
{I/aphtali vi. 4-9 ; comp. Jn. vi. 21). 

As the second miracle of the second triplet we have the much 
discussed narrative about The Gerasenes and the swine. The 
Messiah, who has just asserted His authority over the forces of 
nature, now asserts the same over the supernatural forces of the 
unseen world. In both Mk. and Lk. the miracle takes place at 
Gerasa, which probably means the place near the lake that is 
still called Gersa or Khersa. Mt seems to have supposed that 
the much better known Gerasa in Gilead was meant This 
is some 36 miles from the lake and is impossible. He there- 
fore substituted Gadara, which is less improbable but not at all 
probable. The conjecture of Geigesa is due to Origen ; and by 
it he means the place which is now called Khersa. Local pro- 
nunciation might easily be understood as Gerasa or Gergesa, and 
either might produce Khersa. Various travellers have pointed 
out that there is only one steep place where the rush of the 
swine could have occurred, and that is near Khersa. 

All three readings, 'Gadarenes,' 'Gerasenes/ and ' Geigesenes,' are 
found in different auuiorities in all three Gospels ; but there is little doubt 
that 'Gadarenes' is right in Mt., and 'Gerasenes' in Mk. and Lk., while 
' Gergesenes ' is right nowhere. In aU cases where ' Gergesenes' is found it 
is a correction of the original reading. See DCG,, art. 'Gerasenes.' 

Mk. and Lk. mention only one demoniac It is impossible 
to determine how Mt. came to mention twa In xx. 30 he has 
two blind men, where Mk. and Lk. have only one.^ The in- 

1 In xzi. 7 he mentions the ass and the colt, where the other three mention 
only the colL To the healing of two blind men in ix. 27 there is no parallel 
passage. That Mt. adds a demoniac here, because he has omitted the de- 
moniac in the synagogue at Capernaum, is all the less probable, because in 
both iv. 24 and viii. 16 he has mentioned a number of cases. (For various 
solutions of the difficulty see S. J. Andrews, Lsfi ofomr Lord^ pp. 500-303.) 


accuraqr is of no moment Nor is there any serious difficulty 
about the influence of evil spirits upon brutes. We know too 
little of what is possible with r^ard to the influence of mind 
upon matter (a fact about which tibere is no doubt) to be safe in 
asserting that spirits could not influence creatures that have no 
spiritual nature. And if there is " no a priori objection " on the 
part of science to the demoniacal possession of swine, still less 
can there be any to the demoniacal possession of men, who have 
a spiritual nature. The question is simply one of evidence, 
which is estimated differently by different minds. 

The real difficulty is the moral one. What right had Christ 
to sanction the destruction of animals which did not belong to 
Him ? The answer to which may be this : that a visible effect 
of the departure of the demons was necessary to convince the 
demoniacs and their neighbours of the completeness of the cure ; 
and that brutes and private property may be sacrificed, where the 
sanity and safety of human beings is concerned.^ To this may 
be added the possibility that the keepers of the swine were Jews, 
and if they were, they had no right to keep swine. But it is 
perhaps more probable that the swine were owned by pagans, 
who on that side of the lake would be more numerous than 
Jews. It is obvious that the demons cannot have intended or 
expected the destruction of the swine. Knowing that they were 
to be driven out of their human home, they begged to be allowed 
to enter a home that would be less precious in the eyes of Him 
whom they recognized as the Son of God. The destruction of 
the swine left them homeless once more (xii. 43). We have 
seen already that surprise was possible for the Son of Man 
(10, 26). It is possible that the destruction of the swine was 
unforeseen by Him ; and in that case He cannot be made re- 
sponsible for the results of the permission which He gave.^ In 
none of the three reports is ^ere any mention of complaint 

1 " In any case it was justified by complete success. The man was 
completely satisfied that the demons had left him ; he became quite rational, 
and was willing to dress and comport himself like ordinary people. In all 
this I discover nothing incredible, or unworthy of the character of Jesus" 
(Salmon, The Human Element, p. 277). 

' Dr. Salmon shows the inconsequence of those who regard Jesus as a 
mere man, and yet blame Him for the destruction of the swine [The Human 
Element, p. 278). 

The change which Mt. makes in the cry of the demoniac is to be noted. 
In Mk. it is, ' I adjure Thee bv God, torment me not' In Mt, 'Art Thou 
come hither to torment us before the time?' The latter seems to refer to 
the doctrine that the demons will not be punished till the Day of Judgment : 
comp. Book of Enoch, xvi. i ; Book of Jubilees, z. 8, 9. ' Before the time 
is peculiar to Mt. Klostermann quotes Philostrat Vita Apollonii iv. 25 : 
ftoirpl^orri i^KU rd ^(T/m cat &ik<i ii.k\ ficuraiflj^nw dirrtfy ftfifii ij^ayKdj^nw 6fMXo- 
ytHf 8 n cfif. 


made against Him by the owners. It was the people of the 
country, not the owners in particular, who requested Him to 
depart from their borders ; and, although it is likely that the loss 
of property had something to do with the request, yet it was 
dread of so powerful a Wonder-worker that chiefly moved them. 
Mk. (v. 15) expressly states that 'they were afraid,' and 
Lk. (viiL 37) says that the Gerasenes 'asked Him to depart from 
them, for they were holden with great fear.' Fear in the presence 
of the supernatural is common in man; and dislike of the 
presence of great holiness is specially natural in those who know 
that their own lives are quite out of harmony with heaven. 
This request of the inhabitants is a guarantee for the general 
trustworthiness of the narrative. Fiction would have made the 
inhabitants anxious to detain Him that He might work other 
wonderful cures, as was commonly the case in Galilee and 
Judaea, where He was regarded, not as a dangerous magician, 
but as a great Prophet. The name 'Legion' (Mk., Lk.) is 
another strong mark of reality.^ While it is reasonable to admit 
the possibility of some distortion of the facts in the process of 
transmission, it is uncritical and arbitrary to dismiss an incident, 
80 strongly attested, as a myth. 

The difficult subject of diabolical possession cannot be dis- 
missed as an empty superstition. Not only the Evangelists, 
including the beloved physician, distinguish clearly between 
possession and disease, but (according to their frequent testimony) 
Christ did so also. It is not untrue, but it is misleading, to say 
that their reports are coloured by the ideas prevalent in their 
age. It is equally true to say that their reports are very dijferent 
from the ideas of later Judaism on the subject of demonology, 
— all the difference between what is silly superstition and what is 
sober and credible. Christ did not treat possession either as 
disease or as sin. He seems never to have blamed the possessed, 
or to have suggested that they had brought the affliction on 
themselves. They were great sufferers, and in His compassion 
He freed tliem from suffering. But, if the reports of His method 
in dealing with this special kind of suffering are to be trusted. 
He went through the form of casting out demons ; He told the 
evil spirits to depart If there were no evil spirits there. He 
either knew this or He did not; and one is involved in grave 

^ On Mt's omission of the question, 'What b thy name?,' and of other 
questions which seem to imply ignorance on the part of Christ, see Introduc- 
tion, p. zv. Mt. seems also to bave felt the difficulty of the statement that 
Christ gave the demons leave {hrh-pvlftv atroii) to enter the swine. His 
'Go' {(nrirftTt) is not 'Go into the swine,' bat 'Depart, leave the plftce.' 
It ignores their request rather than grants it ; comp. iv. 10 ; i Cor. vii. 15. 
J. H. Moulton, Gram, ofN.T. Gr, p. 172. Mt. also, as before the choosing 
of the Twelve, omits ' the mountain which both Mk. and Lk. mentioiu 


difficulty, whichever alternative one takes. It is rash to assume 
that there cannot have been any demons to be expelled. The 
hypothesis that they were there, and that they were expelled, is 
not antecedently incredible, and it is supported by evidence 
which cannot easily be explained away. That demoniacal 
possession never occurs now is another rash assumption. A 
medical man once told the present writer that he was confident 
that he had known of a case in his practice : the terrible pheno- 
mena seemed to admit of no other explanation. But physical 
maladies sometimes become extinct, and psychical maladies 
may do so also. Even if it be true that demoniacal possession 
is not found now, that is not conclusive against its taking place 
in other ages when the spiritual condition of society was very 
different. We must be content to leave the question open ; but 
the uniform evidence of the Synoptists is much easier to explain, 
if demoniacal possession was a fact^ 

ExpresaioDS characteristic of Mt. in ch. viii. : jco2 lHoi (2, 24, 29, 32, 34}, 
TpoaipxwBoA, (2, 5, 19, 25), wpoffKVweiF (3), vpoa<f>4p€w (4), Toptiecdcu (9 Sis), 
6 ppvypths TW9 minmaw (12}, y^vriOip'fa (13), dpa iKclwrj (13), Srtas v\ijp<a0j 
(17), iKiyirurrof (26), r&re (26), iierapcUytiw (34), 6pia (34). Peculiar: 17 
j^offiXela rOw otpavQif (ii), t6 Infiiw (17), i^^epot (12, xxii. 13, xxv. 30), 
Zalfuev (31 only). 

It is in this chapter that we have the first instances of what in the second 
half of the Gospel becomes common, — Mt's substitution of aorists for the 
imperfects in Mk. We have wpoffi^eyKtuf, driOayoy (16, 32) for f^poy 
ttrplyaarro (Mk. i. 32, t. 13). 

On the possibility that Mt has arranged the paragraphs in this chaptei 
to correspond with paragraphs in xxvii, and zxviii., see T. Milne in ih^Jour. 
tf Th, St,, July 1904, p. 602. 

The third miracle of the second triplet is the healing of tJu 
paralytic {^, 1-8). Mt is again more brief than Mk. (iL 1-12) 
and Lk. (v. 17-26). *His own city' means Capernaum, which 
is now His chief centre of activity (iv. 13). None of the Evan- 
gelists give any date, and Mk. alone mentions that the paralytic 
had four bearers. 'Seeing their faith' is in all three narratives, 
and it is commonly interpreted as meaning the faith of the 
bearers, whose persistence in breaking through the roof, in order 
to place the sufferer near Jesus, is omitted by Mt. But we may 
allow some faith to the sick man himself, although it was prob- 
ably not so strong as that of his friends. He knew, as they did 
not, that his physical weakness had been produced by previous 
sin ; and he p)erhaps doubted whether the sin would not interfere 
with his cure. Hence Christ deals with the man's uneasy con- 
science first. The healmg of that must precede the healing of 

^ W. Menzies Alexander, Demonic Possession in the N, T, pp. 12, 200-212, 


his body. If he had faith to believe in the forgiveness (and that 
sometimes requires a great deal), he would have faith to be 
healed.^ The afifectionate address, *My child' (tcWof) is in 
both Mt and Mk. The gracious exhortation, 'Be of good 
cheer' (9ap<rct), is in Mt. alone, who on two other occasions 
records it as uttelred by Christ (ix. 22, xiv. 27). Mk. has it 
once of Christ (vi. 50); Jn. once (xvi. 33); and Luke once 
(Acts xxiii. 11). As used by Christ, it is never a mere ex- 
hortation; it is followed by an act or assurance which is sure 
to cheer those to whom it is addressed ; so, in a very marked 
way, here. 

The present tense (Mt., Mk.) is remarkable. 'Thy sins are 
receiving forgiveness* (A^tcvrai, dimittuntur) here and now. 
This was just the assurance for which the man was yearning ; ' 
but the words have a very different effect on others. The Scribes 
are here mentioned for the first time as coming in contact with 
the Messiah, and their critical hostility continues to develope 
until it ends in compassing His death. These are local Scribes, 
reinforced, however, as Lk. tells us, by Pharisees and emissaries 
V from Jerusalem. This is the first collision in Galilee between 
^ Jesus and the hierarchy. All three narratives seem to imply 
that the hostile criticism was* not uttered, and Mk. expressly 
states that it was 'in His spirit' that Christ perceived their 
reasoning. His reply to it is almost verbally the same in all 
three, including the break caused by the parenthesis. The 
Reader-of-hearts could tell how far their questionings were the 
result of jealousy for God's honour, how far of enmity to a 
Teacher, whom they regarded as dangerous to their authority. 
This they hardly knew themselves, and He gives them a practical 
challenge, by which they can test both themselves and Him. 
It is easier to say^ ' Thy sins are forgiven,' because no one can 
prove that they are not forgiven. But the claim to heal with 
a word can be proved true or false at once. The proof that 
He had received power to heal with a word was a guarantee 
that He had also received authority to forgive. He respects 
the jealousy for God's honour and claims no authority apart 
from Him (Jn. v. 27, 30). Once more (viii. 20) He calls 
Himself the Son of Man^ the Son of Man on earth. He is no 
blasphemer assuming Divine prerogatives. What God does in 

^ On the meaning of 'Faith ' in the N.T. see the detached note on Rom. 
i. 17 in the InU Crit, Comrn, \ also the note on Lk. v. 20 ; Hastings' DCG,^ 
art. * Faith ' ; IlUngworth, Christian Character^ pp. 6^ ff. ; Knowling, St. 
James, pp. xlii, 53; Parry, St. James, pp. 43 ff. 

The belief that sickness was caused by sin was very common : " Rabbi 
said, No death without 
'< Rabbi Alexander said 
•ins be forgiven" (Talmud). 

Ami said, No death without sin, and no pains without some transgression " ; 
and ** Rabbi Alexander said, The sick anseth not from his sickness until his 


heaven the Son of Man has authority to do on earth,^ theatrum 
operum C/4w/r (Bengel). 

As in the case of Simon's wife's mother, the person healed 
shows the completeness of the cure by immediate activity. His 
' bed ' would be little more than a rug or mattress, easily carried. 
The crowd, through which he has to make his way, are, as usual, 
much more sympathetic than the Scribes and Pharisees. All 
three mention that they 'glorified God.' Mk. and Lk., who 
think chiefly of the miracle of healing, say that the people 
were 'amazed' (^{laraa-^ac, ^ic(rra(rt9 IXa)3cv); but Mt, who 
thinks chiefly of the forgiveness of sins, says that they were 
'afraid' (c^jSiT^otiy is the right reading). Mt says that they 
glorified God for giving such authority, — the authority to forgive 
sins, to men. Mk. and Lk. represent them as impressed by the 
strange things which they had seen^ viz. the healing. Mt. has 
already given us a triplet of wonderful cures (viii. 2-15). This 
second triplet is not to illustrate healings, but the Messiah's 
power over the invisible forces of nature, demons, and sin. 
But, whether it was the power to heal with a word or the 
forgiveness of sins that chiefly moved them, the multitudes 
are convinced that the charge of blasphemy has been disproved, 
and that Jesus is acting in the power of God. What eflect the 
result had on the hierarchy we are not told, but we gather from 
their continued hostility on subsequent occasions that they were 
baffled rather than convinced. 

Between the second and the third triplet of wonderful works 
Mt places the call of the person whom Mk. calls ' Levi, the son 
of Alphaeus ' and Lk. ' Levi,' while our Evangelist says that he 
was ' a man called Matthew.' There can be no doubt that Mt 
means us to understand that Levi the publican or toll-gatherer> 
and Matthew the tolUgatherer, and Matthew the Apostle (x. 3) 
are one and the same person; and there is no great difficulty 
in the double name. Simon was called Peter, and Thomas was 
called Didymus, and probably Bartholomew was also called 
Nathanael.^ What strikes us chiefly in this narrative is the call 
of an Apostle, and especially the call of such a man to be an 
Apostle. That humble and ignorant fishermen should be chosen 
for such an offlce was surprising enough ; but here Christ chooses 
a man from the class which was most despised and detested 

^ Here, as in zii. 8, it v& possible that the Aramaic original of ' son of man ' 
was used in the sense of mankind in general, men. But such passages are 
few, and in them it is more probable that the meaning which prevails else- 
where is the right one. It is the title of Jesus Himself, partly veiling, partly 
revealing, His claim to be the Messiah. See Introduction (p. xzv) ; Dalman, 
Words ofJesuSi p. 261 ; Drummond, Awr. of Th, SL, April and July 1901. 

' The difference here is that both Matthew and Levi are Semitic, and 
neither name is a patronymic. 


among the Jews, the toll-gatherers. And we are right in being 
struck with this. But perhaps the point which led the Evan- 
gelists to preserve this narrative was not the call of the toll- 
gatherer so much as the banquet which followed it, and the 
second conflict with the hierarchy which took place at the 
banquet That is the connexion between the cure of the 
paralytic and the call of Matthew. Jesus is once more brought 
into collision with the Pharisees and the Scribes. Except in 
the lists of the Apostles, Matthew is not mentioned again by 
the Evangelists. 

Matthew's instantaneous response to the call to be a disciple 
proves two things : that our Lord knew his character, and that 
Matthew already knew something of Christ's teaching. Mk. tells 
us that Jesus had been teaching by the side of the sea just before 
the call of Levi ; and Matthew may have been among the many 
toll-gatherers who had listened to the Baptist, and had been told 
not to exact more than they had a right to. Matthew probably 
collected tolls for Herod Antipas, much of whose income came 
from this source of revenue. In one sense the response of 
Matthew to the call of Christ was a greater act of faith than that 
of Peter and Andrew or James and John. The fishermen could 
always return to their fishing : they did not " bum their ships " 
by following Christ When the death of Jesus seemed to ex- 
tinguish their hopes, they did return to their fishing. But for 
Matthew no such return would be possible. His lucrative post 
would be at once filled up, and an ex-toll-gatherer would find 
it hard indeed to get any other employment He risked every- 
thing by following Jesus. 

But, so far from being depressed by the risk, he regards the 
crisis as a matter for much rejoicing. He makes a great feast 
and invites many of his old colleagues, in the hope, perhaps, 
that other toll-gatherers may be led to follow his new Master. 
But it is not likely that the feast took place on the day of the 
call: the preparations for such an entertainment would take 
time. Mk. and Mt. are not clear as to who gives the banquet, 
or at whose house it takes place ; but Lk. is no doubt right in 
making Levi the entertainer, with Jesus as the chief guest And 
here at once there was a proceeding which the Pharisees could 
denounce as an outrageous scandal. This popular Rabbi not 
only mixed with the worst classes of society, but He ate and 
drank with them, — with excommunicate persons. This was a 
public violation of common decency which could not fail to 
cause great offence. Whether the Evangelists mean us to under- 
stand that there were notorious sinners present, or they are 
merely adopting the Pharisaic point of view, is not quite certain. 
At Capematmi there were not only heathen, but also not a few 


who, through constant intercourse with heathen, had become 
paganized in their manner of life. These would be the class 
that would accept a toll-gatherer's invitation. . / 

In the Mosaic Law the eating with Gentiles was not J 
forbidden, but the Rabbis forbade it as dangerous, and the 
prohibition was commonly observed. The Pharisees insisted 
upon it (Lk. xv. 2), and violation of it was resented (Acts x. 28, 
zi. 2; GaL iL 11). There was a great difference between 
entertaining heathen and being entertained by them. In the 
latter case food that was ceremonially unclean was almost 
certain to be provided, and the Jewish guest had no means of 
discriminating. Comp. Josephus, Can. Apian, iL 29; Tac. 
Hist V. 5. There was probably less strictness respecting inter- 
course with Gentiles in Galilee and the neighbourhood, where 
Gentiles abounded, than in Jerusalem, where they were rare; 
and it was in and around Galilee that most of our Lord's public 
life was spent He taught and healed those who came to llim 
from heathen districts, and He exhibited no aversion to such 
people, any more than to Samaritans or excommunicate Jews. 
He cancelled His apparent rejection of the Syrophcenician 
woman (xv. 24) as soon as she showed herself worthy of His 
grace; and He cancelled the limitation of the Apostles' com- 
mission (x. 5, 6), as soon as the necessity for any such limitation 
ceased (xxviiL 19). As to intercourse with heathen. He went 
back to the freedom of the Mosaic Law. 

The Pharisees, fresh from their discomfiture about the 
paralytic, do not attack our Lord directly, but address His 
disciples, whom they could accost as soon as the party broke 
up. We are expressly told by all three that the feast was in the 
house, and the Pharisees wotdd not enter a toll-gatherer's house, 
although, according to Eastern custom, they coijdd have entered 
a house during a meal without an invitation. Jesus hears their 
criticism, and at once takes His disciples under His protection 
by answering for Himself. And we have once more to notice 
the position which He assumes as a matter of course, as if 
nothing else was conceivable. He is the Physician of souls ; and 
He is come, come into the world, come from God, to heal 
sinners. There is no argument, no assertion of claims ; nothing 
but the quiet statement of fact. He has to heal sinners, and 
must associate with sinners. Who is it who is so conscious of 
this supreme mission ? 

Christ pronounces no judgment upon the assumption of the 
Pharisees that they are in sound spiritual health, with a righteous 
abhorrence of sin. Granted that it is so, then they are in no 
need of the Physician, and ought not to complain that He 
gives His help to those who claim it, and (as the Pharisees them- 


selves admit) greatly need it. The quotation from Hos. vi. 6, 
' Mercy I desire, and not sacrifice/ is not in either Mk. or Lk., 
.but Mt. gives it again (xii. 7). It is in harmony with the text in 
both places, and may have been spoken on both occasions ; or 
Mt may have known it as a saying of Christ, and may have 
inserted it where it appeared to be appropriate. Here the 
'sacrifice' is the external righteousness of keeping aloof from 
sinners. Of course the saying does not mean that sacrifice is 
worthless, but that mercy is worth a great deal more. Comp. 
Lk. X. 20, xiv. 12, xxiii. 28 : in all such forms of speech, what 
seems to be forbidden is not really prohibited, but shown to be 
very inferior to something else. The introductory formula, 'Go 
ye and learn ' (iropcvtfci/TCf fuiOm) was common with the Rabbis. 
It is perhaps putting too much meaning into it to say that with 
it Christ dismisses them, as persons whose self-righteousness 
rendered their case hopeless. They were in far worse con- 
dition than the toll -gatherers, because they did not know 
their own sinfulness. See Du Bose, 7^ Gospel ace. to St 
Paul^ p. 71. 

It is of no moment whether the question about fasting was 
raised in consequence of the feast at Matthew's house (which 
may have coincided with one of the two weekly fasts), as Mt. 
seems to think, or independently. Nor does it matter who put 
the questi<xi. Mt. and Mk. are here not quite in harmony, and 
Lk. is indefinite. The difference between the freedom of Jesus 
and His disciples on the one hand and the strictness of John's 
disciples and the Pharisees on the other^ was noticed, and Jesus 
was asked to explain it John's disciples had lost their master, 
who was in prison. That fact gives additional point to Christ's 
answer. He who had before identified Himself with the Divine 
Physician here identifies Himself with the Divine Bridegroom 
of the Old Testament (Is. Ixii. 5 ; Hos. ii. 20), now present with 
His disciples, who constitute the wedding-party.^ People who, 
like the Pharisees, kept additional fasts, of course avoided 
sabbaths and feast-days; these must not be tuned into fasts. 
Christ points out another exception. It is impossible to make a 
wedding-party fast while the festivities are going on. But days 
will come, when the Bridegroom will be taken away ; then, in 
their sorrow, they will fast By saying 'be taken away' rather 
than 'go away ' He points (for the first time) to His violent 
death: but this could not be understood at the time. The 
parable of the Bridegroom, however, would be specially 
mtelligible to John's disciples, for John himself had used 

' For the expression ' sons of the bride-chamber ' see Deissmann, BibU 
Studies, p. 162. In ver. 14, D, Syr-Sin. and Latt insert roXK^k (frtpuniir) 
after ntartd^ftip. 


this figure respecting the Christ and His Forerunner (Jn. 
liL 29).^ 

It was perhaps the parable of the Wedding-Feast which 
suggested the two additional parables about garments and wine. 
This pair of parables teaches that a new spirit in religion 
requires a new form. John's system is right from his point of 
view. Christ's system is right from a better point of view. But 
it would be fatal to mix the two systems. In the one case 
fasting, in the other case exemption from fasting, was the 
natural outcome of the conditions. To deprive the disciples of 
Christ of their freedom from fasting, would spoil the system in 
which He was training them ; to deprive the disciples of John of 
their freedom to fast, would spoil the system in which he had 
trained them. The second parable puts this still more strongly. 
The piece of new cloth is only a fragment of the new system ; 
the new wine is the whole of it. If it is an error to take the 
natural outcome of one system and force it on an alien system, 
still more fatal will it be to force the whole of a new and growing 
system into the worn forms of an old one. The new must find 
its own expression in new forms ; and it needs young and fresh 
natures, not yet wedded to cramping traditions, but open to new 
ideas and new methods, to develop the new forms. ' New wine 
into fresh wine-skins ' is the only safe principle.* The rottenness 
of old wine-skins seems to have been proverbial: h iraXaiovrcu 
wfk AcK^ rf &tnc€p Ifuiriov rnirofiptaTov (Job xiii. 28). 

Mt now returns to his illustrations of the Messiah's mighty 
works, of which he gives a third triplet (18-33), if we count the 
narrative respecting /afVwr' daughter and the woman with the issue 
as one. It is possible that, instead of three triplets, Mt means 
to make a total of ten, but this is less likely ; the other two 
triplets are clearly marked. Here again, Mt is much more 
brief than the other two, but it is strange that he omits the 
ruler's name;* and, while they connect the incident with the 
return from the Gerasenes, Mt expressly joins it to the parables 

^ ' In that day ' is superfluous after ' then shall they halt* and as such is 
omitted by Mt 

* This is one of the passages in which Mt. and Lk. agree against Mk. 
They both say that the wine will be spilled^ while Mk. merely says that it 
perishes as well as the skins ; comp. ver. 20, and see Burkitt, Gosp, Hist, and 
its Transmission^ p. 42 ; Hawkins, Hora Synaptica^ p. 174. 

' Jairus was ruler of the synago^e : see Schttrer, Jewish People^ 11. ii. 
p. 63. For the characteristic way m which Mt. here deals with Mk., see 
Allen, ad loe. For the ' hem ' or ' border ' which the woman touched, see 
Hastings' DB.y art. ' Fringes' and DCG,j art. * Border.' Mt. and Lk. agree 
against Mk. in mentioning ' the border ' (rod KpvLowidou), which Mk. omits ; 
also in saying that the woman ' came up ' [rpoffeXBoDa-a), while Mk. says that 
she 'came' {iXBcSaa), See Burkitt, p. 44; and comp. ziv. i, xvi. 16, 
xvii 5, 17, XXL 17, 23, xxvi. 67, 68, xxvu. 54, 57-60. 


just recorded. All three record, in different ways, the ruler's 
falling at Jesus' feet, Mt. using his favourite word ' worshipped ' 
(ir/KxreKwci). In Mk. the ruler says that his daughter is very ill 
(lo-xarcDs ^x^t) ; Mt, in abbreviating, makes him say that she has 
just died (olpri InkevTrja-cy) : she was dead when Jesus got to the 
house. It augments the ruler's faith, that he should believe 
that Jesus could not only heal a dying girl, but restore her to 
life. In spite of his many abbreviations, Mt. gives the Hebrew 
periphrasis, ' He arose and followed,' which merely means that 
He began to move : it does not necessarily imply that He had 
been sitting. 

The incident of the woman with the issue is another instance 
of great faith, tinged, it may be, with superstition, which, 
however, Christ does not reprove. Mt. treats it as a healing 
wrought by the woman's faith, without Christ's action. This is 
an additional reason for supposing that he does not reckon this 
as one of his illustrations of Christ's mighty works. He must 
include. the raising of the dead among his examples, and in 
telling the story he could hardly omit all mention of the woman ; 
but her cure is not counted. The affectionate ' Daughter ' (comp. 
ver. 2) is in all three : the encouraging, ' Be of good cheer,' is 
given by Mt. alone (see on ver. 2). He utters no healing word, 
for He knows that she is already cured. That she was ' made whole 
fix>m that hour ' is also peculiar to Mt. Comp. xv. 28, xviL x8. 

Mt alone mentions the flute-players among the mourners, 
real and professional. As a Jew he knows that they must have 
been there, though Mk. does not say so, for even the poorest 
Jews had at least two flute-players for mourning the death of a 
wife (comp. Jer. xlviii. 36 ; Jos. B. /, iii. iz. 5). The custom 
was wide-spread. Flute-players at Roman funerals were so 
fashionable that the tenth law of the Twelve Tables restricted 
the number to ten. Seneca says that they made such a noise at 
the funeral of the Emperor Claudius that Claudius himself 
might have heard them. See Wetstein, ad loc.^ and art ' Music ' 
in Hastings' DB. The peremptoiy 'Depart' ^Avaxoipctrc) is 
given by Mt alone, but the declaration that she is not dead but 
is sleeping is in all three. The beloved physician says that they 
knew that she was dead, and Christ is probably using ' sleep ' in 
the sense that she is about to be awakened, and therefore carmot 
be regarded as dead.^ All three mention that He laid hold of 

^ In the £uni]]Ar phrase 'he slept with his fiitheiB,' a different verb is used 
(iKom^Oii), In the Septuagint KoBwdetw is not OMd in this metaphoriod 
sense, excepting Dan. xii. 2. 

Mt omits the presence of Peter, James, suid John ; — the first instance of 
their being taken apart from the other Apostles. He also omits the command 
to be silent about the miracle, perhaps because of its difficulty. In such a 
case, the miracle must become known. 


her hand, which would involve ceremonial uncleanness, if she 
were dead, as did touching the leper (viii. 3). Mt omits 
Talitka cumi^ perhaps simply for brevity ; but the words might 
confirm the idea that she was only asleep, and thus lower the 
power of the miracle. Mt alone adds that 'the fame hereof 
went forth into all that land' He repeats this after the 
next miracle (31), and has an equivalent remark after the 
tliird (33). 

The healing of two blind men (27-31) may come from some 
unknown source, but it is also possible that the narrative is made 
up of material from Mk. Mk. twice records the healing of one 
blind man (viii* 32, x. 46). Mt twice records the healing of two 
blind men (here and xx. 30). The latter certainly comes from 
Mk. X. 46. Is this narrative influenced by Mk. viii. 22 ? ^ The 
appeal to Jesus as the ' Son of David ' indicates that the idea that 
He may be the Messiah is increasing (see Dalman, Words oj 
Jesus^ pp. 316 ff., and comp. Mk. x. 47, 48, xii. 35, 36, 37). It 
would seem as if this appeal was unwelcome ; the popular idea 
of the Messiah was so faulty.' Christ waits till He is free from 
publicity before making any response; and, though He then 
responds to their faith. He yet strictly charges them to keep the 
matter secret, a charge which they entirely disregard. This is 
exactly what Mk. tells us about the leper (L 43-45), a detail 
which Mt omits in reference to that incident (viii. 4). Has Mt., 
perhaps by lapse of memory, transferred the disobedience of the 
leper to the blind men? But such disobedience would be likely 
to be common, and after the result of the raising of Jairus' 
daughter (26) Mt. may have assumed a similar result here : the 
men healed would be sure to talk about it 

After the restoration of life to the dead, and of sight to the 
blind, we have, as the third miracle of the third triplet, the 
restoration of speech to the dumb (32, 33). This, rather than the 
casting out of a demon (of which we have already had an 
illustration), is the special feature of this mighty work. But there 
are other reasons for introducing it here: (i) it still further 
increased the fame of the Messiah, and thus helped to lead to 
the expansion of His Ministij by the sending out of the Twelve ; 
(2) it marked another stage in the increasing hostility of the 
Pharisees. They now go the length of saying that the mighty 

^ Zabn rejects these and similar si^gestions as foolish, and it is no doubt 
simpler to treat this narrative as independent of Mk« But Mt is so free in 
his treatment of materials, that the theory mentioned in the text cannot be set 
aside as mere Torkeit, 

* This is the first time that Christ is addressed as the ' Son of David ' ; 
comp. xii. 23, zv. 22, xx. 30, 31, xxi. 9, 15. This is in harmony with the 
title of the Gospel (i. l). Throughout, it is the Evangelist's aim to portray 
JesQs as the Messiah and the legitimate heir of the royal house of David. 


works of the Messiah are done by the aid of the evil one (34). 
See below. 

The dumbness of the man is mentioned first, as being the 
special feature ; the possession by a demon is secondary. . The 
people had had experience of exorcisms by Christ and by others 
(xii. 27) ; and it was the restoration of the man's power of speech 
which so astonished them ; especially as the cure from both the 
demon and the dumbness was done with such authority and 
immediate effect, whereas Jewish exorcisms were elaborate 
proceedings of doubtful result (See Hastings' D£.^ art 
* Exorcism'). And, if the verse be genuine, it was the extra- 
ordinary character of the cure which provoked the malignant 
comment of the Pharisees. 

But it is doubtful whether the comment of the Pharisees is part of the 
original text Syr-Sin. and important Old Latin witnesses (D a d k, Juv. Hil.) 
omit, and those which contain the verse differ in wording. It looks like a 
doublet of xii. 24, introduced here by early copyists. A more certain doublet 
is found in xx. 16, where ' many are called but few chosen ' has been intro- 
duced in many texts from xxii. 14. The comment of the multitudes recalls 
Jadg. xix. 30 : ' There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the 
diiloien of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt' 

1, The Mission of the Twelve. 

After the nine acts of Messianic sovereignty, the Evangelist 
shows how the fame excited by these and similar mighty works 
led to the expansion of the Ministry of the Messiah. He no 
longer works single-handed, but selects twelve disciples to help 

Before giving us illustrations of the Messiah's teaching and 
healing, Mt. gave us a summary of the work as a whole (iv. 23- 
25). He here gives us a similar summary (35), expanding half 
of Mk. vi. 6 (which he has already used iv. 23) for this pur- 
pose. In both summaries he dwells upon the great multitudes 
which came to Christ's teaching and healing ; but here he goes 
on to point out that there were multitudes whom it was impossible 
for Him to reach : more labourers must be found. The Messiah 
had compassion for these masses of people, and it is compassion 
which moves to action. Indifference, and even repugnance, 
may pass into interest, but not until compassion begins is any 
serious remedy taken in hand. Hence the frequency with which 
the moving cause of Christ's miracles is said to be compassion 
(ix. 36, xiv. 14, XV. 32, XX. 34; Mk. i, 41, ix. 22 ; Lk. viL 13); 
and, excepting in parables (xviii. 27; Lk. x. 33, xv. 20), die 
word (<nrXayx»'*{«o-flat) is used of no one but Christ. He was 
filled with compassion for these multitudes, groping after the 
truth and bewildered by the formalism of the Scribes, suffering 


from many diseases and getting no help from the remedies of 
the day. A strong word {iaKvXfiiyoi) is used to express their 
distress.^ And when the harassed people are compared to 
' sheep that have no shepherd ' (Num. xxvii. 17; i Kings 
xxiL 1 7 ; Ezek. xxxiv. 5)^ we think of them as exhausted in the 
vain search for pasture.^ They have vague cravings, and do not 
know whither to go to satisfy them. At last they are being 
directed to the Kingdom which is at hand. The Baptist had 
been the first to proclaim this (iii. 2).. Then the Messiah 
Himself had delivered the same message (iv. 17^. And now the 
Twelve are to be sent out to make more widely known the 
same great saving truth. 

The words which follow (37, 38) are given by Lk. at the 
sending out of the Seventy (x. 2). They are not in Mk. ; but 
comp. Jn. iv. 35. The change from sheep lacking a shepherd 
to harvest lacking reapers is abrupt, but natural. The 'few' 
need have no reference to the small number sent out on either 
occasion. The proverb-like saying is of general application, 
for the supply of workers is always deficient. The available 
material is sometimes very scanty, and there is always unwilling- 
ness to be overcome. Possibly the strong word used for * send 
forth ' (iKPaXjf : comp. Ijc/SaAAciv in the next verse) has reference 
to the urgency of the need.^ In any case, the command in 
ver. 38 is always binding, for the deficiency is always there. 

It should be remarked that Mk. puts a considerable interval 
between the selection of the Twelve, with a view to sending 
them out to preach (iii. 13-15), and the actual sending of them 
out two and two (vi. 7); and we may believe that there was 
such a time of special training, although Mt. does not mark it. 
Yet he writes of * the Twelve ' as a body already existing when 
the commission to minister was given. 

Expressions characteristic of Mt in ch. ix. : jcal tM (2, 3, 10, 
20), irpoc^^'pctv (2,^ 32), T<5r€ (6, 14, 29, 37), ^Kct^cv (9, 27), 
XcW/icvos (9), iropcvco-^ac (13), irpoa€px€a'6ai, (14, 20), 2&v (18, 
32), irpo(ncw€iy (18), iLpa iKcCvrj (22), ivaxinptly (24), v2o9 Aavcffi 
(27), y^infixftia (29), fl>aiv€ar6ai (33). Peculiar: ivOvfuurOai 
(4), T^ cvoyycXtov r^s /9ourcXcias (35), fijaXoKia (35); peculiar 

^ Origixudly it meant ' flayed ' or ' mangled,' but became equivalent to 
* haiassMl^ or * vexed * with weariness or worry (Lk. vii. 6, viiL 49 ; Mk. 

V. 35). 

' 'Scattered' seems to suit shepherdless sheep, but it may be doubted 

whether this is the exact meaning of ipifi/idwot. In the O.T. it is used of 

dead or helpless men prostrate on the ground : z Tudg. iv. 22 ; X Kings xiii. 

24, 25, 28 ; Jer. xiv. 16, xxxvi. 30 ; Tob. i. 17 ; Judith vi. 13, xiv. 15 ; Ep. 

Jer. 71. ' Prostrated ' seems to be the meaning here : the Vulg. haAj'acentes, 

At xiv. 14 Mt. omits this saying, although it is there found in Mk. (vi. 34). 

' But the verb is used in quite a weakened sense elsewhere : xii. 20^ 35. 



to this chapter: ai/jLoppotiy (ix. 20). Not one of the above 
examples is found in the parallels in Mt. and Lk. This again 
shows that, to a considerable extent, Mt. uses his own vocabu- 
lary in reproducing the material of his sources. We can see 
this with regard to what he takes from Mk. j and it probably 
holds good with regard to the source which both he and Lk. 
frequently use, but which is no longer extant 

Barnabas (v. 9) makes a curious use of ver. 13 : ** He then 
manifested Himself to be the Son of God when He chose His 
own Apostles who were to proclaim His Gospel, for, in order 
that He might show that He came not to call the righteous but 
sinners, they were sinners above every sin " (wrtp wacrav dfjuofyrtay 
dvofui>r^ovs). Comp. the apparent quotation of Mt xxiL 14 as 
Scripture (a>s ycypairroi) in Bam. iv. 14. 

In X. I the Evangelist returns to the narrative of Mk. (vL 7).^ 
He has told us of the call of the two pairs of brothers (iv. 18-22) 
and of Matthew (ix. 9) to be disciples in a closer relation than 
Christ's ordinary followers ; but as yet nothing has been said of 
their working with Him or for Him. No formal commission 
has been recorded. These closer disciples had now received 
some training from Him, and some had been previously trained 
by the Baptist The time is come when they are to be sent to 
work away from the Master, so that there may be more centres 
than one. There are now to be seven centres, — Himself, and 
six pairs of Apostles. Mt omits that they were sent out in pairs, 
but he arranges them in pairs in the list 

It is remarkable how little we know of the work of these men 
who have been distinguished by the great name of Apostle. We 
know something, but not very much, about Peter, James, and 
John: a very little about one or two more; but the rest are 
mere names. We know neither where they worked, nor in what 
way they did their work ; neither how long they lived, nor how 
they died. The traditions about them are very untrustworthy, 
and perhaps are mere conjectures, framed to mask unwelcome 
ignorance. Yet great work in various parts there must have 
been. We see this from the rapidity with which the Roman 
world was converted, a result which implies much strenuous 
labour in the Apostolic and sub-Apostolic age. But in the 
New Testament it is the work and not the workers that is 
glorified. The Gospel is everything ; who preached it is of little 
importance. 'It is no longer I that live,' says S. Paul, 'but 
Christ liveth in me ' (Gal. ii. 20). The individual worker may or 
may not be remembered here ; it is He who works in him and 

' Here, as in the case of the Gerasene swine, Mt. says nothins about ' the 
mountain ' which both Mk. and Lk. mention. It illustrates nis habit of 
omitting unimportant details. 


inspires him that Scripture glorifies, — He who originates and 
sustains all that His human instruments effect. He Himself 
has told them to rejoice, not at the things, however great, which 
they accomplish, still less at the things which men have written 
about their achievements, but rather because their names are 
written in heaven, in the Lamb's Book of Life (Lk. x. 20 ; Rev. 
xxL 27). History tells us little about the doings of the Apostles. 
It is more than enough to know that in the heavenly city the 
wall has ' twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the 
twelve Apostles of the Lamb ' (Rev. xxL 14). 

This is the only place in which Mt. uses the word 'Apostle,' 
Before giving the names of the Twelve he tells how the Messiah 
equipped them: He gave them authority to cast out unclean 
spirits,^ and to heal all manner of disease, as He Himself had 
been doing (iv. 23, 24, ix. 35). This was without a precedent 
in Jewish history. Not even Moses or Elijah had given mir- 
acidous powers to their disciples. Elijah had been allowed to 
transmit his powers to Elisha, but only when he himself was 
removed from the earth. In his list of the Apostles, Mt. some- 
what changes the order as given in Mk. iii. 16-19. In the first 
group of four he puts the brothers in pairs, instead of placing 
Andrew after the three chief Apostles. He might have done 
both ; but that would have involved placing Peter third, which 
Mt., who exhibits a special interest in S. Peter, would not do. 
He not only put Peter first, as all do, but he specially calls him 
'first' (irfMtfTos), which would be superfluous, if it did not mean 
more than first on the list It indicates the pre-eminence of 
Peter. In the second group, Mt. places Matthew after, instead 
of before, Thomas, and adds that he was ' the toll-gatherer ' 
(ix. 9). In each of the first two groups there is one Greek 
name, Andrew in the one and Philip in the other. In the 
third group the Thaddseus of Mt. and Mk. may be safely identi- 
fied with the 'Judas (son) of James' of Lk. and the 'Judas not 
Iscariot' of Jn. The origin of the name Thaddseus, and also 
of that of Lebbseus, which has got into Western texts here and 
in Mk., is an unsolved problem. For conjectures see Hastings' 
DB. art. 'Thaddaeus.' For 'Canan8ean'= 'Zealot' see £>CG., 
art 'Cananaean,' and Dalman, Words of Jesus^ p. 50.^ That 
' Iscariot ' means ' man of Kerioth ' or ' a Kariothite ' is probable, 
but not certain ; and the situation of Kerioth is uncertain. See 
DCG.^ art. 'Judas Iscariot,' and Expository Times, Dec 1897, 

^ In the Testaments we have, " If ye do well, even the unclean spirits will 
flee from you " ; iroU rd dxd^a/nti rifw/iara ^^orrai d0' tfi&p {Benjamin, 2 ; 
comp. IssatAar, vii. 7). 

^In the Apostolic band, both the toll-collectors, who worked for the 
Roman Govemment, and the 2>alots, who endeavoured to overthrow it, were 


p. 140, and Jan. 1898, p. 189. If Judas was the only one of 
the Twelve who was not of Galilee, this may have placed him 
out of sympathy with the others from the first. 

Like the reproach, ' who made Israel to sin/ which clings to 
the memory of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, so "the terrible 
indictment/' ' who also betrayed Him,' clings in some form or 
other to the memory of Judas Iscariot Lk/s form of it here 
is *who turned traitor' (8s fycVero xpoSonys). That was the 
amazing fact (which is stated again and again and left to speak 
for itself without comment) ; that one whom Jesus chose to be 
an Apostle — *one of the Twelve,* delivered Him up to His 
enemies (com p. iv. 12). We cannot doubt that our Lord saw 
in Judas the qualities necessary for the office of an Apostle, the 
material out of which Apostles are made. It is evident also 
that Judas responded to Christ's call and followed Him with 
knowledge of what the call involved. When the Twelve returned 
from their first mission and gave an account of their work, 
there is no hint that any one of them had proved a failure. 
Christ's call left all the Twelve free to be faithless, if they so 
willed ; and in time Judas came to will this. His treachery is 
proof that no office in the Church, however exalted, gives 
security: disastrous downfall is possible even for those who 
have been nearest to Christ 

Some find seven divisions in the sayings which are here put 
together as one discourse ; but the sayings, when thus separated, 
are of very unequal length, varying from half a verse to eighteen 
verses. A division into five paragraphs, as in the RV., is more 
illuminating. The same is true of the eschatological discourse 
(xxiv. 5-xxv. 45). 

The charge to the Twelve (5-42) is much longer in Mt than 
in Mk. or Lk., and a good deal of it is the same as Lk.'s report 
of the charge to the Seventy. Like the Sermon on the Mount, 
it is evidently made up of utterances which were spoken on 
different occasions. Some portions are suitable to this first 
mission ; others clearly refer to the period after the Ascension. 
Mt has combined the report in Mk., which is our best guide as 
to what was said on this occasion, with material which belongs 
to other occasions. See Stanton, p. 330. 

l^e prohibition to go to Gentiles ^ or Samaritans was tem- 
porary, and perhaps confined to this first missionary journey. 
The Jew had the first claim, and as yet the Twelve were not 
competent to deal with any but Jews. After the Apostles had 
gained experience in this narrower field, and after the Jews had 
refused to avail themselves of their privileges, the Apostles turned 

^ For the Hellenistic towns in the east And north-eait distzicts of Palestine, 
see SchUrer, /nwA PtopUy 11. i. pp. 57 ff. 


to the Gentiles and became missionaries to all the world. Both 
by word and example Christ showed that Samaritans Qn. iv. 
4-42 ; Lk. ix. 52) and Gentiles (xv. 28) were not to be per- 
manently excluded. But ' the lost sheep of the House of Israel ' 
are the first objects of Christ's compassion ; lost, because they 
had no shepherds, no competent teachers; for those who pro- 
fessed to lead them were 'blind guides' (xv. 14, xxiii. 16, 24), 
guiding them, not to pastures, but to pits. The charge, ' as ye 
go^ preach,' is another indication of the temporary character of 
these directions. They are to be "field-preachers" moving on 
from place to place. No permanent organization is to be 
attempted. The sheep are all scattered, and the first thing 
is to awaken in them the desire for a shepherd and a fold. 
The Messiah and the Kingdom are ready when they are ready. 

The commission to * raise the dead ' is startling. No such 
commission is mentioned by Mk. or Lk., and the words are 
wanting in numerous authorities here. But those which omit 
are mostly late, and the words are so strongly attested by the 
best witnesses that they cannot be rejected. It is more probable 
that they were omitted by later cop3rists, because no instance of 
raising the dead by a disciple is mentioned in the Gospeb, and 
because no charge to do so is recorded by Mk. or Lk., than that 
a very early copyist inserted the words. Assuming them to be 
genuine is, however, not the same as assuming that they were 
spoken. The Evangelist may have wished to show that the 
Messiah conferred upon His Apostles the full measure of bene- 
ficent power which He exercised Himself.^ 

The words arie found in H B C D, Latt. Syrr. Copt. Aeth. They are 
omitted in L, etc, Sah. Arm. In a few texts they come after 'cleanse the 
lepers,* in a few after ' cast out demons.' 

' Freely ye received ' does not mean that any of the Twelve 
had been miraculously healed. It means that the power to heal 
was given them for nothing, and that they must not take pay- 
ment for healing. This is not at variance with the principle 
that 'the labourer is worthy of his food' (10). To accept 
support from those to whom they ministered was allowable, and 
it was the duty of those who accepted the ministry to give the 
support; but to make a trade of their miraculous powers was 
not permitted.* Mt has * Get {KrqrqtrOt) no gold, nor yet 

' It should be noticed that Christ here clearly distinguishes between heal- 
ing the sick and casting out demons, as also does Mk. (vi. 13) in narrating 
what the disciples did after receiving this charge ; oomp. Ul. vi. 17, 18, 
tt. I. 

' Rabbi Jebudah interpreted Deut. iv. 5 as meaning that God had taught 
without fee, and therefore teachers must give instruction free (Talmud). The 
Talmud orders that " no one u to go to the Temple-mount with staff, shoes. 


silver, nor yet brass ' : they are not to take the smallest pecuniary 
remuneration. Mk. has that they are to take none with them 
as provision for the way ; they are to take nothing * save a staff 
only.' In Mt. the staff is prohibited. There is a similar differ- 
ence with regard to sandals: in Mk. they are ordered, in Mt. 
they are forbidden, unless we are to suppose that o-avSaXta differ 
from xnro^fuira. These discrepancies need not disturb us : the 
general meaning in all three Gospels is the same: 'make no 
elaborate preparations, but go as you are.' They are not to be 
like persons travelling for trade or pleasure, but are to go about in 
all simplicity. It is not that they are purposely to augment the 
hardships of the journey (as forbidding staff and sandals might 
seem to imply), but that they are not to be anxious about 
equipment^ Freedom from care rather than from comfort is the 
aim. Their care is to be for their work, not for their personal 
wants. Hence they are to be careful what house they make 
their headquarters in each place. A disreputable house might 
seriously prejudice their usefulness. But having found a 
suitable resting-place they are not to leave it for the sake of 
variety or greater comfort That again might injure their 
reputation, besides paining their first entertainer. Moreover 
they are to be courteous: 'as ye enter into the house, salute 
it.' Courtesy is never thrown away; it enriches the giver, even 
when it meets with no response. 

" Talk not of wasted affection, affection never was wasted ; 
If it enrich not the heart of another, its waters, returning 
Back to their springs, like the rain, shall fill them full of refireshment ; 
That which the fountain sends forth returns again to the fountain.''* 

But time was very precious ; and none must be wasted on 
ground that made no sign of becoming fruitful. Where prejudice 
or the calumnies of Christ's enemies made people so hostile as 
to refuse even a hearing, the Twelve were to leave them and 
seek more hopeful soil, of which there was plenty. This again 
clearly refers to the early missionary work of the Apostles, and 
is not meant as a principle of action for all time. It is not to 
be supposed that ministers of the word are at once to abandon 
as hopeless those who decline their first approaches. What the 

girdle of money, or dusty feet " ; and Edersheim says that Christ's charge 
means, 'Go in the same spirit as yoa would go to the Temple services' 
( Temple^ p. 42). 

' On tne strength of a Greek inscription of the Roman period, discovered 
at Kefr-Hauar in Syria, Deissmann would explain r^pa as '* a beggar's collect- 
ing bag," so that the charge would mean, ' You are not to maSce mone^ by 
healing, and you are not to beg.' But the common explanation of ' travelling- 
bag,' or ' knapsack ' is better, as r^pay e/t hhbar shows {.New Light pn tks N, 7*. 
/ram Records of the Grace- Roman Period^ p. 43). 

' Longfellow, Bvat^drnty li. i. 


Twelve had to do was to give to as many people as possible 
some kind of preparation for the teaching of Christ, and they 
had a very limited time in which to do this. It was, therefore, 
not allowable to expend much of this precious time upon 
unpromising material, when promising material could easily be 
found. But a solemn warning was to be given to those who 
rejected them. The dust of the place where they dwelt was to 
be shaken off, as if it were the polluting dust of a heathen road, 
or perhaps to intimate complete separation : the Apostles were 
not even to share dust with such people (see Edersheim, Life 
and Timesy i. p. 643). Both in the Old and in the New Testa- 
ment the cities of tibe plain are typical of abominable wickedness 
provoking severe judgments.^ The allusion is all the more 
suitable here because, just before the overthrow of these cities, 
the inhabitants committed a gross violation of the rights of 

What follows (16-23) evidently does not refer to this first 
mission, but to a later time, when, instead of mere refusal to 
listen to their teaching, the Apostles will have to face active 
persecution. Occasional unreceptive listeners in Jewish towns 
and villages have developed into systematic prosecutions before 
the councils (v. 22) of the synagogues and the Sanhedrin, and 
even before governors and kings among the Gentiles. Christ 
would not be likely to foretell this until the Apostles had had 
some experience of missionary work. It would not guide them 
in their first efforts. In what precedes this (5-15), the emphasis 
is on the beneficent character of the Gospel which they have to 
carry to the lost sheep of Israel, and they are not told to prepare 
for anything worse than a rejection of their message. Here the 
chief emphasis is on their own sufferings.^ Christ wishes them 
to be under no illusions; after He is gone, they will have to 
suffer cruel persecutions, even at the hands of their own kindred 
(21), and hostile kindreds are sometimes specially implacable. 

And it is the Messiah's own doing that they have to endure 
all this ; it is the Shepherd Himself who sends them forth * as 
sheep in the midst of wolves.' There is a notable emphasis on 
the Sender : * Behold, / send you forth ' (ISov, fyi» diroarrcAAa) 
v/ias).' And it is for His sake (18, 22) that they will have to 

' See also the Book of Jubilees xvi. 5, 6, xx. 5, 6, xxii. 22. 

In the Gospels, the expression, 'Day of Judgment' {^lUpa KpUreut), is 
peculiar to Mt. (x. 15, xi. 22, 24, xii. 36). We find it in the Testaments: 
L£vi iii. 2, 3 ; also in the Book of Enoch, c. 4. There it has many names. 

' With ylpea$t o9r ^pivifun comp. ylwtaSt odp ao^ iv $ef, rixva fiov, xaX 
^pit^ifua (Naphtali viii. 9). 

' With this emphatic ^^(^ comp. xii. 27, 28, xx. 22, xxviii. 20 ; Lk. xxi. 15, 
xxiv. 49 ; ^7^ droffT^XXw is peculiar to Mt : x. 16, xi. 10, xxiii. 34. Jiu 
has fy^ dWffrecXo, iv. 38, xvii. 18. 


suffer. It is precisely this fact, as He knows, that will give them 
courage, and will even make them welcome suffering. It is in 
obedience to His command, and for His Name's sake. But 
who is this who dares to issue such commands, and to make 
such claims upon His followers ? He puts before His Apostles, 
not the promise of rapid success, not popularity or the praise of 
men, but peril and persecution. ' Ye shall be hated of all men 
for My Name's sake.' That is not the world's way of winning 
adherents, and it must have been a great surprise to men who 
were expecting the speedy triumph of the Messiah and their own 
share in the glories of the Kingdom. 

It might well alarm the bravest of these simple fishermen to 
be told that they would have to answer for their doings on 
Christ's behalf before Jewish councils ^ and heathen courts. 
They were ready to submit to severe sentences of scourging or 
imprisonment, or death ; but they might easily injure the sacred 
cause which they represented by their unskilfulness in replying to 
the questions of their judges. The Master tells them not to be 
anxious (vi. 25) about that: 'the Spirit of their Father' will be 
in them and teach them what to say. The very form of expres- 
sion, * the Spirit of your Father,' is full of encouragement ; and 
this is the first mention in this Gospel of a promise of the 
assistance of the Spirit Comp. the promise to Moses : ' I will 
be with thy mouth and teach thee what thou shalt say ' (Exod. 
iv. 12). As Bede puts it, Vos ad certamen acceditis^ sed ego 
pralior. Vos verba edttis, sed ego sum qui loquor (on Lk. xxi. 15). 

The fanaticism of those who needlessly courted a martyr's 
death is condemned beforehand. Those who, through no fault 
of their own, are persecuted must endure to the end, even unto 
death, and they shall be saved, ' shall win their souls ' (Lk. xxi. 
19). But Christ's ministers have no right to provoke destruc- 
tion : they must be harmless as doves. There is so much work 
to be done that the life of every missionary is precious. When 
they are persecuted in one sphere of work, they must seek 
another: that is the wisdom of the serpent. Christ Himself 
avoided His enemies, until He knew that His hour was come. 
There must be no wanton waste of Christian lives. It some- 
times happens that there is more real heroism in daring to fly 
from danger than in stopping to meet it. To stop and meet 
useless risks, because one is afraid of being called a coward, is 
one of the subtlest forms of cowardice ; and the desire to be 
thought brave is not a high motive for courageous action. 

' Sf^^xtXt Jewish People, 11. ii. pp. 59-67. Derenbourg, ffisL dela Pal, 
pp. 86 fr. 

For hroiuiHi (22) as the link between persecution and victoiy see Hort on 
Rev. 1. 9. 


Persecution is a temptation to deny Christ, and those who meet 
persecution in a spirit of bravado have no right to expect to be 
delivered from succumbing to that temptation. The martyr's 
crown is not to be won, unless a man * has contended lawfully ' 
(2 Tim. ii. 5). 

This paragraph, like the preceding one (5-15), closes with a 
* Verily I say unto you.' A comparison of it with Mk. xiii. 9-13 
will show that it cannot have been spoken in connexion with the 
first mission of the Twelve. But the concluding words are not 
easy to explain. The persecuted disciples are to flee, */or ye 
shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of 
Man be come ' (23). At least four things are open to question. 
What is the meaning of * gone through ' (reXeoTTTc), of * the cities 
of Israel,' of • the Son of Man,' of * come ' ? * Gone through ' is 
often understood as meaning ' gone through in your missionary 
efforts ' : you will not have preached in all the cities of Israel 
No lives must be needlessly sacrificed, for even all will not 
suffice to visit every town in Palestine in the short time at your 
disposal. Or again, ' gone through ' may mean ' thoroughly won 
over*: you will not have completely converted all these cities. 
There is not very much difference between these two explana- 
tions; but there is a third which is quite different 'Gone 
through ' may mean ' exhausted in your frequent flights ' : you 
will not have used as places of refuge all these cities. You need 
not be afraid to fly as often as you are persecuted, for there are 
enough cities to last you till the Son of Man comes. This 
makes intelligible sense, but the solemn language used seems to 
require one of the other interpretations. It need not be doubted, 
however, that ' the cities of Israel ' means the towns of Palestine. 
The proposal to understand by it all the cities in which there were 
any Jews would hardly have been made, except for the purpose 
of avoiding the difficulty caused by the delay of Christ's coming. 
In the many centuries which have elapsed since the words were 
spoken it would have been quite easy to have preached in all 
the cities of Palestine. The remaining two points may be taken 
together. " In this Gospel the coming of the Son of Man is 
always a final coming after His death to inaugurate the King- 
dom " (Allen). It is evident that in some way Christ's words 
produced the impression that He would return soon. When 
that impression had been produced, the words themselves 
would be likely to undei^o modification. Moreover, the 
coming to establish the Kingdom may have been confused with 
the coming to judgment. The nearness of the Kingdom may 
have been transferred to the other coming. We may suspect 
that the reports of His utterances respecting the Second Advent 
have become blurred in transmission. 


Some important witnesses (D L, Syr-Sin. a b k Arm.) after 'flee into the 
next' insert 'and if they persecute ^ou in the other flee ye to another.' If 
this is genuine, the third interpretation of reX^oifre becomes more probable. 

The general topic of persecution connects the utterances 
which follow (24-33) ^^ those just recorded. There is nothing 
to show the occasion on which they were uttered.* The first 
(249 25) seems to have been spoken several times and with 
different meanings. Here the point is that the disciple must 
not expect better treatment than his master ; so also Jn. xv. 20, 
which was a different occasion. In Lk. vi. 40 the meaning 
appears to be that disciples are not likely to get nearer to the 
truth than their teachers do, and consequently teachers must 
seek knowledge, especially knowledge of self. In LL xxiL 27 
and Jn. xiii. 16 the meaning is that dUsciples must not set them- 
selves above their master. It is difficult to believe that these 
different applications could have been constructed, if the saying 
had been uttered only once ; and the theory of repetition has no 
difficulty. Was it not likely that Christ would have His favourite 
sayings, — ^favourite, because fruitful and capable of various 
adaptations ? The thought here fits on well to what precedes. 
The disciples will be hated by all for Christ's sake, and they will 
not wonder at this ; they will even glory in it, because Christ 
Himself received similar treatment Hence His claim to call 
upon them to suffer. ' Beelzebul ' or * Beelzebub ' is evidently 
used here as a term of bitter reproach or abuse, but how it 
came to be so, and indeed the derivation of the word, are still 
unsolved problems.* Our knowledge of the ideas of New Testa- 
ment times is still sadly meagre. See Nestle in DCG., art 
* Beelzebub.' 

Next we have sayings which contain ' Fear not ' thrice (26, 
28, 31). Lk. has similar sayings (xii. 2-9); but the differences 
are so considerable that the Evangelists can hardly have used 
the same source. Once more we have a saying which Christ 
seems to have uttered more than once, and with different 
applications. Perhaps it was already proverbial before He made 
use of it Comp. Mk. iv. 22 ; Lk. viiL 17, xii. 2. In Mk. the 
reference seems to be to teaching in parables ; the Gospel is at 
first a mystery, but a mystery to be made known to all the world. 
So also perhaps in Lk. viii« 17. In Lk. xii. 2 the meaning is 
that hypocrisy is foolish as well as wicked, for the truth is sure 
to become known. Here the application seems to be that the 

' See Brings, TAe Mgsst'aA of the GospelSy pp. 196-200. He gives what he 
considers to oe the original of both Mt. and Lk., giving the preference, on 
the whole, to Mt. 

' '*The Syriac Versions and the Latin Vulgate stand alone in ending 
the word with a ^ *' (Burkitt). 


Apostles are to preach publicly what Christ teaches them in 
private. But both the * therefore ' and the ' for ' are somewhat 
obscure. The * therefore * refers to what precedes. Fear is 
caused by uncertainty. 'Fear not, therefore, for it is certain 
that they will persecute you as they persecute Me. You are 
fore-warned and fore-armed.' The * for ' refers to what follows. 
'Deliver your message without reserve, for, like every other 
mystery, the Gospel is sure to be revealed.' ^ 

The second 'Fear not' (28) tells the disciples not to fear 
men who can but kill the body, but to fear Him who can 
sentence both body and soul to destruction in Gehenna.^ That 
the latter means God need not be doubted. Olshausen, who 
interpreted it of the devil, retracted this view in later editions. 
The change of construction (from firf 4*op-q6rjfr€ diro twv airoxr, to 
4>ofi€tirB€ Tov 8w., which is the regular construction for fearing 
God) indicates this. We are nowhere told to fear the devil. 
' Fear God and resist the devil ' is the doctrine of Scripture 
( Jas. iv. 7 ; i Pet. v. 9). The devil tries to bring us to Gehenna, 
but he has no authority to send us there. It is the fear of God, 
not of the devil, that is to enable the disciple to overcome the 
fear of men. Comp. Eph. vi. 10-12 ; also Hermas, Mand, xii. 
vi. 3 ; Ascension of Isaiah, v. 10. 

What follows (29-31) confirms the view that it is God 
who is to be feared with a fear that conquers the fear of men. 
Men cannot harm even our bodies without God's consent ; and 
if God consents, there is good reason, viz. a Father's love, for our 
being allowed to suffer. The smallest animal does not perish, 
the smallest portion of man^s body (emphasis on v/tcuv) does not 
fall away, without the will of God. Here again, therefore, there 
is room for another ' Fear not.' 

The contrast in what follows (32, 33) is between the 
judgment-seat of human persecutors and the judgment-seat of 
God. Sometimes Christ is the final Judge of mankind (Jn. v. 
22, ix. 39; 2 Cor. v. 10); here the Father is the Judge, and 
the Son pleads before Him. Only those whom the Son recog- 

^ Another possible interpretation is : * Deliver yoar message without fear, 
for the lies ana plots of your opponents will all be exposed at the last day.' 
Quidquid latet aMarebit, Nil inulium remamdit, as we have in the Dus 
tra of Thomas de Celano, the friend and biographer of S. Francis of 
Assisi. Comp. xii. 36 ; I Cor. iv. 5. 

'The teaching of Epictetus constantly insisted on the philosopher's 
freedom from fear of those who can only torture or kill the body. The 
tyrant says, " I will put you in chains." " Me in chains ? You may fetter 
my leg, but my will not even Zeus can overpower." " I will throw you into 
prison." " My poor body, you mean." " I will cut your head off." 
" When have I said that my head cannot be cut off?" These are the things 
on which philosophers should meditate, and in which they should exercise 
themselves {Discoursss, I. L). Comp. £ur. Bac, 492-499. 


nizes as His are safe.^ For * deny ' Mk. (ix. 38) has ' be ashamed 
of* : comp. Rev. iii. 8. 

The prediction that, in the bitterness of religious hate, the 
nearest of kin will persecute one another (21), is now illustrated 
by other sayings of Christ respecting the dissensions which the 
Gospel will produce in society. 'Think not,' as in v. 17, implies 
that some were likely to think this.' It was the general ex- 
pectation of the Jews that the Messiah would establish a reign 
of peace. But peace cannot be enforced. Open hostility can 
be put down by force ; but good will can come only by voluntary 
consent. So long as men's wills are opposed to the Gospel, there 
can be no peace. Sometimes the only way to peace is through 
war. Once more Christ guards His disciples against being under 
any Dlusions. They have entered the narrow way, and it leads 
to tribulation before leading to eternal life. The parallels in Lk. 
(xii. 51-53, xiv. 26, 27) seem to come from a different source: 
Lk. has no parallel to ver. 36.^ 

Does 'take his cross and follow after Me' (38) imply that 
He wht) leads the way carries His cross ? It is a strange picture 
of the procession to the Messianic Kingdom. This is the first 
mention in Mt of the cross, and it must have startled Christ's 
hearers ; for Jews, especially in Galilee, knew well what the cross 
meant. The supporters of Judas and Simon had been crucified 
by hundreds (Jos. Ant xvii, x. 10). The person to be crucified 
carried his own cross, or at least the cross-beam, to the place of 
execution. It is as an instrument of death that it is used here, 
as ver. 39 shows. The saying is given by Mt. again xvi. 24, 25 » 
Mk. viii. 34, 35«Lk. ix. 23, 24. Lk. xiv. 27 seems to be 
different from both: so that we have three variations of the 
saying, which may have been uttered more than once. Such 
a saying would be remembered, and might be transmitted in 
more than one form. In all five passages we have ^his cross' 
(in Lk. xiv. 27, 'his awn cross'), which implies that every one 
has a cross to take; no one can carry it for him. And, as 
the next verse shows, to refuse to take one's cross does not 
secure one from suffering. 

It is impossible to reproduce the phrases for 'findeth his 
life' and 'loseth his life' in English, owing to the different 
meanings, or rather the combination of meanings, in the Greek 
word (^x^)' I^ includes the meanings of ' life ' and ' soul,' and 

> On the remarkable construction ofioKoytip h rtn, which is in both Mt. 
and Lk., see J. H. Moulton, Grant mar of N.T. Greeks vol. i. p. 104; with 
the meaning comp. Rev. iii. 5. These verses (32, 33) show plainly who is 
to be feared in ver. 28. 

* With ' I came,' as implying the pre-existence of the Messiah, comp. y. 17 
and see xi. 27. 

' On vityut^m see Kennedy, Source of N, T, Greek, p. 123. 


in varying shades. The context here shows that the primary 
meaning of the saying is that the confessor who suffers death is 
far happier than the apostate who escapes ; but the words have 
many other applications. In general, those whose sole aim 
is to win material prosperity, lose the only life which is worth 
living; and those who sacrifice material prosperity in Christ's 
service^ secure this higher life. Even as regards pleasure, to 
make it one's constant aim is to fail to obtain it ; devotion to 
something else may win it 

' For My sake ' is in all four passages (no parallel in Lk. xiv.), 
though some Western texts omit in Mk. viii. 35. Again we 
have a claim which is monstrous if He who makes it is not 
conscious of being Divine. Who is it that is going to own us 
or renounce us before God's judgment-seat (32, 33)? Who is 
it that promises with such confidence that the man who loses 
his life for His sake shall find it? And these momentous utter- 
ances are spoken as if the Speaker had no shadow of doubt as 
to their truth, and as if He expected that His hearers would at 
once accept them.^ What is more, thousands of Christians, 
generation after generation, have shaped their lives by them 
and have proved their truth by repeated experience. Without 
'for My sake' the saying occurs Lk. xvii. 33 and Jn. xii. 25. 

The idea of persecution passes out of sight in the three 
sayings (40-42) which Mt. places at the close of the charge to 
the Twelve. These sayings treat of those who receive the 
Gospel, not of those who oppose it. The first of them is found 
Mk. ix. 37 of receiving little children in Christ's Name : in both 
there is the identification of Christ with Him who sent Him. 
There is also the identification of Christ with His disciples, a 
mystic unity which is still further developed in xxv. 31-45. It 
has already been stated that Christ * came ' (v. 1 7, x. 34) ; here 
He says that He ' was sent' The idea of a m'ission runs through- 
out fi^in the Father to the Son, from the Son to the disciples. 
And every messenger represents him who sent him, so that the 
disciples represent the Son, and therefore the Father. It mil 
be observed that these three verses would fit on very well to 
tfv. 14, 15. It is possible that we have now got back to words 
which were spoken at the first mission of the Twelve.* 

Missionaries are 'prophets,' 'for they speak for God and 
carry His message; and they are 'righteous,' for they preach 
the righteousness which is set forth in the Sermon on the 
Mount, and it is assumed that they practise it Those who 

^ See Steinbeck, Dasgdttliche Selbsibewussisein JesUf p. 32. 

• See Bri^;s, The Messiah of the Gospels, pp. 182-186, where he re- 
constructs what may be supposed to have been the original charge to the 
Twelve ; also pp. 238-249, where he reconstructs the cha^e to the Seventy. 


receive them, because they possess this sacred character, will 
receive the same reward as the missionaries themselves. To 
recognize and reverence noble traits in the characters of others 
is going a long way towards imitating them. To place oneself 
at their service, because of their noble characters, may be to 
equal them in merit Or again, to support the missionaries 
with sympathy, prayer, and alms, is to enter into their labours 
and share their reward. 

The concluding verse (42) does not come in very well here. 
Mk. (ix. 41) gives the saying in a very different connexion and 
with two notable differences ; * you ' for • one of these little ones,* 
and ' in name that ye are Chrisf s ' for ' in the name of a disciple.' 
Here *you* would have been more suitable: 'one of these 
little ones' comes from Mk. iz. 42.^ Mt is perhaps quoting 
from memory and has mixed Mk. ix. 41 and 42. But taking 
the saying in the form, and with the context, which Mt gives 
us, the meaning will be that even the smallest service done to 
one of the disciples, because he is a disdple, is certain of a 
reward from Him whose disciple he is. 

Here again (see on vi. i) we have the promise of rewards 
for righteousness. The reward is not offered as a motive for 
action ; the motive in each case is love and reverence for the 
Prophet, or righteous man, or disciple, and therefore for Him 
whose servant he is. The reward is a support to this motive, 
an encouragement and stimulus. It assures those to whom it 
is promised, that those who honour God in His servants will 
not be forgotten by God. A person whose sole object was to 
get the reward would not be acting 'in the name of a Prophet, 
or righteous man, or disciple; his action would be purely 

If we take w. 40-42 immediately after w. 14, 15, then the 
charge to the Twdve ends in a manner very similar to the 
Sermon on the Mount. There the consequences of acting and 
of not acting in accordance with Christ's teaching are pointed 
out Here the consequences of not receiving and of receiving 
Christ's messengers are pointed out Moreover, in each case 
the transition to what follows is made with the formula, 'And 
it came to pass when Jesus ended': comp. vii. 28, xiii. 53, 
xix. I, xxvi. I. The Greek is the same in all five places; yet 

^ That ' little one ' was a Rabbinical ezpressioa for a disdple, is doubtful. 
Here it seems to mean that the disciples were people of whom the world 
would not take much account In comparison with the Prof^ets and saints 
of tibe Old Testament, they would seem to be very insignificant And their 
mission was to be short, probably only a few weeks ; so they would have no 
great opportunity of makine a name for themselves. It is possible that every- 
where O^viii. 6, 10, 14 ; Mk. iz. 42 ; Lk. zvii. 2) ' one of these little ones ' 
means ' one of My disciples' : DCG,, art ' Little Ones.' 


even the RV. gives three different translations of JrcXco-cv; 
'ended/ 'had made an end,' 'had finished.' See on vii. 28. 


Characteristic expressions in ch. z. : Xe76/ieyof (2), vopeieaOcu (6, 7), 
llfidpa Kplffew (15), Idou (16), 0/9^(/iot (16), iiye/uifp (18), &pa iKtUmi (19), 
oUodtffir&riis (25), yiemra (28), 6 rar^p 6 iw rois odpavdit (32, 33), eft ru^ 
/juKp&p TovTWP (42). Peculiar: /laKaKla (l), 1} pcunXtia tQp otpavCtp (7), 
/ytii drmrrAXw (16) ; peculiar to this chapter : oUuuctift (25, 36), ^cx^r^u' (35)* 
Excepting to tm. i-$ and a few scattered sayings between w. 5 and 15, there 
are no parallels in Mk. or Lk. ; but, where there are paralleb, these ex- 
pressions do not appear in them. In the first 'Fear not' (26) there is no 
dispute as to the tense of the verb, <poprj$^e, and, although there is difference 
of reading, almost all editors agree that in the last * Fear not ' (31) we should 
read 0o/9€ur^e. In the intermediate ' Fear not ' and * Fear ' (2iS) editors are 
not unanimous : perhaps 0o/3eur^e is right in both places. ' Cease to fear ' 
and ' continually tear ' make excellent sense. 

XI. d-Xn. 60. Illustrations of the Misunderstanding and 
Opposition provoked by the Ministry, 

The eleventh chapter has no parallel in Mk.^ The substance 
of it comes from the Logia, and a good deal of it has parallels 
in Lk. But the relation of Mt. to Lk. is here a difficult problem : 
for possible solutions see Allen. Mt, as usual, is the more 
brief. In narrating the message of the Baptist to the Messiah, 
the two agree as regards the words spoken by John and by Christ, 
but in the narrative portion almost every word in Mt. differs 
from the wording of LI:. 

In his prison at Machaerus, near the north-east end of the 
Dead Sea, John had heard of the works of the Messiah, — those 
works of which Mt. has given striking illustrations. Antipas 
had put him in prison, partly for political reasons, because of the 
excitement which he produced among the people (Jos. Ant. 
xviii. V. 2), and partly because of the animosity with which 
Herodias regarded him. But having secured his person, Antipas 
did not ill-treat him. He sometimes conversed with him, and 
he allowed his disciples to visit him. It was easy for John to 
hear what Jesus was doing. 

'Art Thou He that cometh, or must we look for another?' 
There is a strong emphasis on 'Thou' in contrast to the quite 
different Comins One, who perhaps must be waited for. ' The 
Coming One' \o ipxofievo^) is tke Messiah (Mk. xi. 9; Lk. 
xiii. 35, xix. 38; Heb. x. 37; Ps. cxviii. 26; Dan. vii. 13). 
John's question was not asked for the sake of his disciples. 

^ Salmon, however, is inclined to believe that Mk. knew of the message 
of the Baptist and deliberately omitted it ( Tike Human Element in the Gospels^ 
pp. 41, 42). Mt. alone tells us that John was in prison at this time, and he 
alone uses the remarkable expression, ' the works of the Christ' Mt. thus 
shows at the outset that the Baptist is in error. 


Christ's answer is not addressed to them, but to John. It is 
not dear that they understood the meaning of the message which 
they carried. Then is TertuUian {Marcion^ iv. i8) right in think- 
ing that John's own faith was failing, because the career of Jesus 
did not seem to correspond with what he himself had foretold?^ 
Possibly, but not probably. John had had such convincing 
evidence that Jesus was the Messiah, that he could hardly doubt 
now. And if he did doubt, what use to send to Jesus ? A false 
Messiah would not own that he was an impostor. More probably 
it was John's patience that was failing, not his faith. He wished 
Jesus to come forward more publicly and decidedly as the Messiah. 
• If Thou do these things, manifest Thyself to the world.' To do 
Messianic works and not daim the position of the Messiah seemed 
to be futile inconsistency. 

The reply of Christ is like that of Tarquinius Superbus to his 
son Sextus at Gabii : the messengers are to report what they have 
seen the person, to whom they were sent, doing. It is a sym- 
bolical message, which their master is to interpret No care is 
taken that the messengers themselves understand it; it is for 
John to do that. In this message, all the clauses are to be 
understood literally, and they are arranged in three pairs, in 
which the more mighty work is placed first. It is to be remarked 
that all of them are works of mercy : none are works of mere 
power and display, such as the Jews expected the Messiah to 
give as 'signs.' It is also to be remarked that the preaching of 
the good tidings to the poor is coupled with the raising of the 
dead as the most convincing evidence of all John had heard 
in prison of the works of healing ; but they did not prove more 
than that Jesus was a great Prophet The preaching to the poor, 
however, was clearly Messianic (Is. IxL i), as He Himself declared 
at Nazareth (Lk. iv. 18-21). It was a new thing that the poor, 
who were commonly neglected and despised as worthless and 
ignorant, should be invited into the Kingdom. John is to be 
assured that Jesus is still carrying on the message that the 
Kingdom is at hand and is open to all. This is sufficient, and 
John is told nothing further about the Messiahship of Jesus.^ 
But note the warning which follows. 

' Blessed is he ' (6) shows plainly enough that it is John who 
is imder consideration. Had-the reference been to his disciples, 
we should have had, 'Blessed are they' (v. 3-10). What a 
strange revelation respecting the Messiah, that not to take offence 
at His conduct is accounted a blessed thing. Character Messia 
id ipsuftiy quod multi in eo scandalizentur (Bengel) ; so certain was 

^ John had hexalded a Messiah who would be severe in judging sinners, 
and Jesus had not shown Himself as such. 

* See Sanday, The Life of Christ in Recent Research^ p. 57. 


e-ll] tHfi MINiSTkY IN GALILEE l6l 

He to be misunderstood. £^re miconnu, mime par ceux qu^on 
aime^ dest la coupe ePamertume ei la croix de la vie ; fest ce qui a 
da serrer U plus sauvent le casur du Fils de Phomme. Dieu aussiy 
lui surtout, est le grand miconnu^ le sauverainement incompris 
(Amiel). In some way even the Baptist had found some occasion 
of stumbling in Jesus. 

What follows confirms this. It is about John, not about his 
disciples, that our Lord at once begins to speak (7), and He 
speaks in terms of high praise. In society men are commonly 
praised to their face, or the faces of their friends, and blamed 
behind their backs. Jesus does the opposite in the case of 
John. As soon as his messengers are gone, Christ proceeds to 
remove from the minds of the multitudes the thought that, 
because He has sent a rebuke to the Baptist, therefore die latter 
has fallen from his high estate. On the contrary, he is one of 
the greatest of men. Such testimony from such lips is unique, 
and it may almost be called the funeral oration of the Baptist, 
for not long afterwards Herodias compassed his death. 

The first question might be punctuated thus: *Why went ye out into 
the wilderness? to behold a reea shaken by the wind ?' And so Jerome 
takes it. Qutd^ inquity existis in desertumf numquid ad hoc ut, etc. 
Nevertheless, this is less probable than the usual division of the clauses. 
And in either case we may understand the words either literally or meta- 
phorically. 'Did you go out merely to see waving rushes?' 'Did you 
make a pilgrimage to see a man whom you thought feeble and fickle ? Your 
taking all that trouble shows that you thought very differently of him.' The 
second question must be taken literally, and this is a reason for taking the 
first literally. 'Did you go all that way to see a luxurious worldling like 
Herod Antipas, who put John in prison?' In Jos. B, /. i. xxiv. 3 'royal 
robes' are contrasted with those ' made of hair.' 

In the third question authorities are again divided as to the punctuation 
of the words and the meaning of the T£. ' But what went ye out for to see ? 
a Prophet ? ' (AV. ). ' But wherefore went ye out ? To see a Prophet ? * (RV. ). 
The AV. is probably right It is reasonable to translate the Tf in the same 
way in all three questions, not ' what ' in two and ' wherefore ' or ' why ' in 
one, or viu versa. 

Certainly the multitudes made the pilgrimage into the 
wilderness because they believed that Jehovah had once more 
granted a Prophet to His people. And Jesus declares that 
John was not only that, but the Forerunner of the Messiah. He 
applies to him Mai. iii. i, which was one of the commonplaces 
of Messianic prophecy, and which seems to have been current 
in a form differing from both the Hebrew and the Septuagint 

Neither the Hebrew nor the Septuaeint has 'before Thy face,' which all 
three insert after ' My messenger.' All three have droariWia for i^aroariXKVf 
6s for xal, and KaToaKtvdaei for Hrip\4}ff€Tai. 

'Among them that are bom of women' (11) is a solemn 


periphrasis for the whole race of mankind.^ John's office and 
mission was higher than that of any of his predecessors. He not 
only prophesied of the Messiah, he was His Herald, and pointed 
Him out as come.' But he was not withui the Kingdom which 
he announced; and, in the Kingdom, the humblest members 
are higher than the greatest of those who are not members. In 
spiritual privileges and knowledge Christians are above John. 
He is the friend of the Bridegroom ; they are His spouse. 

It is not quite certain whether, in what follows (12-15), ^^ 
have a continuation of Christ's words, or a comment of the 
Evangelist's. ' From the days of John the Baptist until now ' 
looks like comment. On the other hand, Mt. seems to give 
them as spoken by Christ If so, they were probably spoken on 
some other occasion. Lk. (xvi. 16) has part of the utterance 
differently arranged, but he has no parallel to ver. 14. He has 
' the Law and the Prophets ' in the usual order. Why does Mt. 
write 'the Prophets and the Law'? But it is not easy to see 
the connexion between the violent pressing into the Kingdom 
and the statement about the Prophets and the Law; yet 'for' 
implies close connexion. "Whatever else these difficult words 
contain, at least they express that a new period, that of the 
kingdom of heaven, had set in after what are called the days of 
John the Baptist, and that his preaching had led to a violent and 
impetuous thronging to gather round Jesus and His disciples, a 
thronging in which our Lord apparently saw as much unhealthy 
excitement as true conviction " (Hort, Judaistic Christianity^ p. 
26). But the strength of the movement, however faulty it might 
be in individual cases, was evidence of John's influence : his 
inspiration must be from above. Yet even he had something 
of the spirit of violence; in his impatience, he wanted the 
Messiah to hurry the work, just as Elijah wanted Jehovah to be 
more rigorous with idolaters.^ 

*If ye are willing to receive it' (14) indicates that there was 
much unwillingness. With all their enthusiasm for a new 

^ Comp. Job ziv. i, xv. 14, zzv. 4. 

' " The principle on which John's superiority to the whole prophetic order 
is based is that nearness to Tesus makes greatness. In that long procession 
the King comes last, and the highest is he who walks in front of the Sovereign " 
(Maclaren). On the other hand, John's inferiority to the humblest in the 
Kingdom lies in the fact that they know, as he did not, how Christ's diaracter 
reveals God's mercy and love no less than His justice. Cyril of Jerusalem 
says John was the end of the Prophets and the firstfruits of the Gospel-state, 
the connecting link between the two Dispensations; but Cyril insists more 
on John's superiority to Enoch, Moses, Elijah, and Jeremiah than on his 
inferiority to all Christians (Or/, iii. 6). 

' See Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 258. Zabn contends that here 
fiidi^trai, as in Lk., is middle, not passive: 'the Kingdom forces its way,' 
like a rushing, mighty wind. 


Prophet, the people had not appreciated John (Mk. ix. 13). 
His stem demand for repentance, and for conduct worthy of a 
penitent, was not liked by many ; and his declaration that descent 
from Abraham gave no claim to admission into the Kingdom was 
disliked by nearly alL To recognize John as the Elijah predicted 
by Malachi would mean that his authority to proclaim these un- 
welcome truths was admitted. * If ye are willing ' (c2 Olkere) must 
not be supposed to mean that it does not much matter. That 
it matters very much indeed is shown by the concluding refrain, 
*He that hath ears to hear, let him hear' (xiii. 9, 43). They 
are a warning against neglect of the fulfilment of prophecy.^ 

The parable which follows is given by Lk. *(vii. 31-35) with 
A different introduction. It is aimed at the formalists among 
the Jews, and the Pharisees in particular. These are the children 
sitting in the market-place and finding fault The Baptist comes 
in his sternness, and they want him to play at festivals. Jesus 
comes, taking part in social joy, and they want Him to play at 
funerals. Nothing that varies from their own narrow rules meets 
with theu: approbation. They doubt whether John is a Prophet, 
and they are convinced that Jesus is not the Messiah, because 
neither conforms to their preconceived ideas. They said that 
John was possessed by a demon of moroseness ; and later they 
said much the same of Christ (Jn. vii. 20, viii. 48, x. 20 ; comp. 
Mt. xii. 24). They disliked the message of both. 

'And yet Wisdom was justified at the hands of her children,' 
or * by her works.' If * children * be the right reading here, as 
it certainly is in Lk. viL 35, we must not translate * against her 
children ' (Avo twv riicviov avr^). The difficult sentence should 
not be interpreted to mean that Wisdom is vindicated from the 
attacks of her children. If ' works ' is right, such an interpreta- 
tion is impossible. Assuming ' children ' as correct, the children 
of the Divine Wisdom are the righteous few who welcomed both 
the Forerunner and the Messiah, recognizing that each of them 
had been sent by the Divine Wisdom, and were under its guidance 
in adopting different manners of life and of action. The as- 
ceticism of John, and the absence of asceticism in Jesus, were 
equally right in the several cases. But, if * works ' is correct, the 
meaning is that in both cases the method of operation has been 
justified by results ; ue, it is certain to be justified' 

^ It is clear from this passage and Mk. ix. 13 that it was our Lord who 
called the Baptist ' Elijah.' John himself did not know that he was Elijah 
(Jn. i. 21). It is also clear that Christ had an esoteric element in His 
teaching, which all had not ears to hear. Sanday, The Life of Christ in Recent 
Researcht p. 82. 

' Comp. * I have overcome the world ' (Jn. xvi. 33), where the event is 
regarded as so sure to happen that it is spoken of as past. 'Justified ' means 
'(Mclflied to be right ' : Kennedy, Sources of N^ T, Greek, p. 104. 



Although ipyvp is powerfully supported (K B, texts known to Jerome, 
later Syriac), and the assimilation to riKPtav in Lk. is probable, yet riKviov 
has the support of older authorities (D, Syr- Sin. Syr-Cur. Lat-Vet Vulg.). 
But most editors regard ipyb^p as original. See Zahn, ad loc,^ footnote on 
p. 432, and Einleiiungt ii. 3x2. 

Some think that the variation between r^icra and l/rya may have arisen 
through the confusion of two similar Aramaic words, one of which means 
' servant ' (iratr) and the other *work.' In 2 Esdr. vii. 64 there is a some- 
what similar case : ' Longsuffering, for that He long suffereth those that have 
sinned, as His creatures.' Here the Latin text \\9S qwisi suis operibus i but 
the Ethiopic, 'as to His sons,' and the Syriac, ' because we are His servastis,^ 
Nestle, Textual Criticism^ p. 251 ; Salmon, Sonu Thoughts on Text. CrU. 
p. 121 ; Scrivener (Miller), ii. p. 325. It is more probable, however, that 
the sul^titution of ^/aryu for rinvn, is due to the mention of Christ's ' mighty 
works ' {fivvi.iiMv%) in w. 20-24. 

It seems probable that, in the preceding paragraphs (2-19), Mt. has put 
together three Logia, which are qmte distinct, but are all connected with the 
Baptist (2-1 X, 12-15, 16-X9). Lk. places (he first and third in juxtaposition 
(vii. 18-28, 29-35), ^"' ^c pu^ ^c intermediate one much later (xvL 16). 
The refrain, ' He that hath ears, let him hear,' occurs thrice in Mt. (xi. 15, 
xiii. 9, 43), twice in Mk. (iv. 9, 23, not vii. 16), and twice in Lk. (viii 8, 
xiv. 35), not at all in Jn. 

For further suggestions respecting ver. 19 see the T^^mt. of Th, St,, April 
1904, p. 455 ; Bruce, TAe Parabolic Teaching of Chrtst^ pp. 414-426. 

The verses (20-27) which follow the parable of the chudren in die market- 
place, when compared with the parallels in Lk. (x. I3~x5, 2Z, 22), show us 
once more that Mt. groups his material according to subject, and not accord- 
ing to time and place, in Lk. the reproach to the cities that had rejected 
Him is appended to the charge to the seventy, and the exultation over God's 
preference of the disciples is placed after the return of the Seventy. These 
two sections come in here as illustrations of the diiferent effects which the 
Ministry of the Messiah had upon those who came in contact with it. We 
have had its effects on John (2), and on those who criticized both Him and 
John (16), and now we mive its effect on the arrogant cities and on the humble 
disciples. The * Then ' in * Then began He ' is not a note of time : the re- 
mark is inserted by Mt to form a means of transidon from one saying of 
Christ to another. And the translation ' wherein most of His mighty works 
were done,' is probably an exaggeration of the Greek {aX vXeurrat dwdfiett 
aOrov), which need not mean more than ' His many miracles ' (Blass, § 44, 4), 
and this also is all XhzX piurima tdrtutes eius (Vulg. ) need mean. Mt. would 
be unlikely to say that most of the mighty works wrought by the Messiah 
resulted in the impenitence of those who witnessed them. 

We know nothing about Chorazin, except what is told us here 
and in the parallel in Lk.^ The precise form of the name and 
its derivation, as in the case of 'Beelzebub,' are uncertain. 
Another illustration of the meagreness of our knowledge of 
Judaism in the time of Christ. And yet He was very active in 
Chorazin ; showing how much, not only of His life, but even of 
the few years of the Ministry, is unrecorded (Jn. xxi. 25). For 

^ llie reason why we are told nothing about our Lord's work in Chorazin 
may be that it took place before the cal) of S. Peter, which is the starting- 
point of the Gospel narrative of Christ's Ministry in Galilee (Salmon, 7%g 
Human Etem^mt, p. 297). 


the probable sites of Chorazin and Bethsaida see Sanday, Sacred 
Sites of the Gospels^ pp. 24, 41. Of these two cities the paradox 
was true, that though the Kingdom of God had come nigh to 
them, yet they were far from the Kingdom of God. Tyre and 
Sidon are often denounced for their wickedness (Is. xxiii. ; 
•Jer. XXV. 22, xlvii. 4; Ezek. xxvi. 3-7, xxviii. 12-22). In the 
denunciation of Capernaum, where Christ had not only done 
many works, but lived and taught, ' Heaven ' and ^ Hades ' (not 
Gehenna) symbolize the height of glory and the depth of shame 
(Is. xiv. 13-15). The very site of Capernaum is still a matter of 
dispute, and all three towns have long since been in ruins (Jos. 
B.J, III. X. 10; Renan, VAnteckrist^ p. 277; Tristram, Bible 
Places^ p. 267 ; Sanday, Sacred Sites^ p. 37), The sin of these 
flourishing places was not violence or sensuality, but indifference. 
There is no evidence that they opposed or ridiculed Christ ; but 
His work made no impression on them. They perhaps took a 
languid interest in His miracles and teaching ; but His beneficence 
never touched their hearts, and His doctrine produced no change 
in their lives. Self-satisfied complacency, whether in the form of 
Pharisaic self-righteousness or in that of popular indifference, is 
condemned by Christ more severely than grosser sins. A life 
that externally is eminently respectable may be more fatally 
antichristian than one that is manifestly scandalous. For the 
comparison with Sodom comp. x. 15. The confidence with 
whidi Jesus utters His judgments as being identical with the 
Divine judgments is all the more impressive from its being 
implied and not asserted. 

The eyidence for 'shalt thou be exalted nnto heaven' (H B C D L, Lat- 
Vet. Vulg. Syr-Cur. Arm. Aeth.). is decisive; so also in Lk. But both 
readings make good sense. It is not quite so certain that ' thou shalt go 
down is right : ' thou shalt be brought down ' is well supported. 

The exultation of Jesus over the Divine Preference shown to 
the disciples is placed by Lk. (x. 21, 22) after the return of the 
Seventy.^ The introductory formula, ' Jesus answered and said,' 
does not indicate that the words which follow are a reply to 
anything. ' Answered and said ' is common in Hebrew narrative 
as an enlarged equivalent for 'said' (xvii. 4, xxviii. 5). Like 
* He opened His mouth and taught,' it prepares the way for a 
solemn utterance (Deut. xxi. 7 ; Job iii. 2 ; Is. xxi. 9). Dalman, 
Wordsj p. 24. 

^ I thank Thee ' (iiofioXorYcvfuu a-oi) is literally ^ I acknowledge 
openly to Thy honour' (Gen. xxix. 35; 2 Sam. xxii. 50; Ps. 
XXX. 4 ; and especially Ecdus. li. i, 10). See Kennedy, Sources 

^ Lk. expressly states that there was exultation : iycMudaaro rf Uw, rf 


of N,T, Greeks p. ii8. On various occasions Christ recognized 
publicly God as His Father : xv. 13, icviii. 35 ; Jn. v. 17, xL 41, 
xii. 27 ; Lk. Tcxiii. 34, 46. Here He thanJcs His Father that 
intellectual power is not necessary for the recognition of the work 
of the Divine Wisdom. He does not mean that intellectual power 
is a barrier to the reception of the Gospel ; but it is immaterial : 
all that is required is childlike simplicity. Ignorance is no 
qualification, intellect is no disqualification ; for the qualifications 
are not mental, but moral The heart, not the head, is the 
home of the Gospel, and the condition of receiving it is lowliness 
of spirit, not strength of brain. Not all clever people are shut 
out from the Kingdom, although some shut themselves out; for 
it is not intelligence, but the pride of intellectual people, that 
excludes. And not all simple folk are admitted; for it is not 
stupidity, but the humility of simple-hearted people, that qualifies. 
The psychological laws which God has established manifest the 
very different results of intellectual pride and of intellectual 
humility, and for this Jesus gives thanks. He is not proclaiming 
any necessary connexion between ignorance and religious faith.^ 
How does Jesus know that this law, which shuts out such 
' wise and understanding ' people as the Scribes and Pharisees, while 
it admits such ' babes ' as the disciples, is in accordance with the 
Divine decrees? The passage (27) in which the answer to this 
question is given is unique in the Synoptic Gospels, although 
such utterances are common in the Fourth Gospel The verse 
is in both Mt and Lk., and the reckless scepticism which would 
question its authenticity is based, not upon critical principles, but 
upon prejudice. Such evidence is very unwelcome in some 
quarters, and it is therefore discredited In his excellent notes 
on the passage Mr. Allen says : "The occurrence of this verse in 
both Mt and Lk. even if the two Evangelists borrow from a 
single source, proves that this saying reaches back to an early 
stage of the Gospel tradition. If, as is probable, the two writers 
drew from different sources, this tradition was vridespread. If 
we add the fact that a similar use of 'the Son' — 'the Father' 
occurs in Mk. xiii. 32, this usage as a traditional saying of Christ 
is as strongly supported as any saying in the Gospels." Hase 
calls the passage " an aerolite from the Johannean heaven," but 
adds that it is "within the range of the vision of S. Paul" 
{Geschtchtejesu,%fii. See also Nosgen, Geschichtejesu Christie 
p. 475). Even Schmiedel regards this as an original utterance 
of Jesus, and interprets the aorist as meaning that there was a 
particular moment when Jesus discovered that God was His 
Father, a thought which was new to Him, because the idea of 

^ On the translation of the aorists txfn/^at and drejrdXv^f see J. H. 
Moulton, Gram, if//,T, Gr. i, p. 136. 


God as a Father had become extinct among His contemporaries 
(Enc, BibL iv. 4697). The importance of this is the admission, 
from such a quarter, that we have here an original utterance of 
Jesus. See Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. vii. 5, x. i, 9, xvi. 24. 

Keim speaks of the whole utterance as " this pearl of the 
sayings of Jesus," points out how frequently and with what 
variations it is quoted, and thinks that the original form of 
ver. 27 probably stood thus: 'Everything has been delivered 
to Me by My Father. And no one has known the Father except 
the Son, and no one has known the Son except the Father, and 
he to whom He (the Father) is willing to reveal Him.' ^ The 
desire to make ' He ' refer to the Son led to various changes. 
But, whatever view may be taken of this minor point, Keim 
remarks on the importance of the evidence which the passage, in 
its simplest form, supplies. " Everything is given over to Him 
by His Father, ue, by the God whom He here for the first time 
calls His Father in a peculiar s.ense, thereby distinguishing 
between Himself and all other men. ... He is the first and the 
only one who through Himself and through God has ^. ttabed to 
the knowledge of God the Father, which no Abraham, no Moses, 
no David and Solomon, no IsaiaJi and Daniel, — to say nothing 
of the wisdom of that day, had found. In the second place, just 
as He knows God, God on the other hand knows Him; He 
knows God as Father, as Father of men, and yet more as His 
own Father, and God knows Him as Son, as Son among many, 
and yet more as the One among many : and exclusively related 
to one another, each being to the other a holy, unveiled secret, 
worth knowing and discovered by effort ; they mutually approach 
with love in order to discover and to enjoy one another in the 
self-satisfaction of the enjoyment which is based upon the 
similarity of spiritual activity, upon the likeness of essence, of 
nature (Ps. 1. 6, cxxxix. i ; Gal. iv. 9 ; i Cor. viii. 3 ; 2 Tim. ii. 
19). In the third place, this self-enclosed world of the Father 
and the Son opens itself to the lower world, to men, only by its 
own free act, because it wills to open itself and to admit to 
companionship whom it will." * 

Hamack {The Sayings of JesuSy pp. 272-310) has subjected 
the passages, Mt. xi. 25-27 = Lk. x. 21, 22, and Mt. 28, 29, to a 
very thorough critical investigation, and is convinced that, with 
certain reservations about Mt. xL 27 = Lk. x. 22, they must be 

^ Jostm, Try, 100 ; Apol, i. 63 ; Iren. I. xiii. 2, IV. vL I ; Tert Adv, 
Marcion. ii. 27, iv. 25 ; Clem. Horn. zvii. 4, xviiL 4, 1 1, 13, 15, 20; Ricag, 
ii. 47 ; Clem. Strom, vii. 18. 

' Keim, Jesus of NoMara, iv. pp. 54-64. He protests that "there is no 
more violent criticism than that which, since Baurs time, Strauss has intro- 
duced " of repudiating this passage, because of its testimony to the Divine 
Sonship <^ Qirist 


accepted as genuine utterances of our Lord. "Both sayings 
(xi. 25-27 and 28, 29) — ^the second in higher degree — have a 
poetical rhythm, and in their construction remind us of the 
poetical form of sayings in the Psalms and Prophets ; but from 
this point of view they are not unique among the sayings of our 
Lord; indeed, not a few have a similar form." The form in 
which the second saying (28, 29) and the first half of the first 
saying (25, 26) have come down to us may be accepted as the 
most ancient attainable form ; but doubts arise as to the second 
half of the first saying (27). We have many early quotations 
with important variations, i. Some have TropaScSorac instead of 
irap€^6$rj. 2. Some have iyvta (cognovit) instead of hriywuKrK€i 
{cognosdt), 3. Some place the clause about the Son knowing 
the Father before the clause about the Father knowing the Son. 
4. Some have ' to whomsoever the Son may reveal Him ' instead 
of * to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Him.' There need 
be no doubt that iropcSd^ is the original reading (comp. xxviiL 
18). Hamack contends that lyi^ is right in Lk., and that in Lk. 
the words ical rk i<mv 6 vios cl fitf 6 varrfp were wanting, and 
therefore were wanting in the authority which both Mt and Lk. 
used. Yet he admits that the interpolation must be "very 
ancient ; for all our authorities for S. Matthew and all our 
authorities^ except one^ for S. Luke have itJ' Indeed this inter- 
polation into the Lukan text " must have taken place almost at 
oncey He also admits the probability that during this later 
period of Christ's Ministry He spoke of Himself as ' the Son ' ; 
" because it is absolutely impossible to imagine how He could 
have arrived at the conviction that He was the future Messiah 
without first knowing Himself as standing in an unique relation- 
ship to God." Hamack thinks that diroicaXv^ is more likely to 
be original than fiovkriTtu Slitok, See Camd. BibL Ess. p. 300. 

O. Holtzmann would limit 'all things have been delivered to 
Me' (iravra fu>i irofHBoOrj) to "the handing over of the doctrine, 
and not the delivering over of a vicegerency in the world- 
sovereignty of God" (Life of Jesus, p. 284).* But the aorist 
points back to a moment in eternity, and implies .the pre- 
existence of the Messiah (see on 'I came,' v. 17, x. 34). The 
common Jewish idea seems to have been that the JVame of the 
Messiah was present to God from all eternity, but that the 
Messiah Himself was a human Sovereign endowed by God with 
supernatural powers. Sometimes, however, Jewish thought went 
beyond this, and the pre-existence of the Messiah was clearly 
stated, as in the Book of Enoch, where we read that the Son of 

1 So also Wellhausen, who regards 'and no one knoweth the Son but 
the Father ' as an early interpolation. It must be very early to have got into 
aU MSS. and Versions. 


Man "has been chosen and hidden before Him (God) before 
the creation of the world and for evermore " (xlviii. 6) ; " the 
Elect One standeth before the Lord of Spirits, and His glory 
is for ever and ever " (xlix. 2) ; and Enoch's " name was carried 
aloft during his lifetime to the Son of Man and to the Lord of 
Spirits from amongst those who dwell on the earth " (Ixx. i). So 
also in the Fourth Book of Esdras: "This is the Anointed One, 
whom the most High hath kept unto the end"(xii. 32); "the 
same is He whom the Most High hath kept a great season" 
(xiii. 26); and "no man upon earth can see My Son" 
(xiii. 52). 

The gracious words which follow (28-30) are not in Lk. ; 
they are among the special treasures of the First Gospel. Their 
want of other attestation and their resemblance to Ecclus. li. 23, 
26, 27 have caused some to conjecture that Mt. has invented 
them, with Sirach as a basis. But could Mt. have invented 
them, even with that help? "It is not so easy to make new 
Sayings and new Parables like those in the Gospels of Matthew 
and Luke ; at least, that kind of speech does not make itself 
heard in the extant remains of what the first four generations of 
Christians wrote " (Burkitt, The Gosf. Hist and its Transmission^ 
p. 199). "The important thing is to recognise that this is the 
kind of teaching which the Evangelist thought worthy to put in 
his Lord's mouth, and which the Church accepted as worthy. 
. . . Again and again we find ourselves in the presence of some- 
thing which may or may not be authentic historical reminiscence, 
but is in any case totally unlike the other remains of early 
Christian literature . . . and we take knowledge of the 
Evangelists that they have been with Jesus" {ibid. pp. 
206, 207). 

When we ask what connexion these gracious words have 
with the context, we must remember that this question need 
mean no more than that the Evangelist must have had some 
reason for placing the words here. We cannot be certain that 
w, 21-30, or even m>. 25-30, were spoken as one continuous 
utterance. Lk's omission of 28-30 points to this being a 
separate saying.^ If it was such, why did Mt. insert it at this 
point? The last words of ver. 27 give a good connexion. 
Although the Son alone knows the Father, yet He is willing to 
impart some of His knowledge to those who are worthy; and 
forthwith He invites those who are in need of guidance to come 
and learn of Him. A more general connexion lies in the 

' The words which Lk. places immediately after * the Son willeth to 
reveal Him ' are a better sequence than * Come unto Me/ etc. Lk. has : 
'Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see,' etc (x. 23, 24), 
which Mt. has xiii. 16. 


contrast between the wise and understanding Scribes and 
Pharisees who rejected Christ's teaching, and the childlike 
disciples who accepted it, and thus proved themselves children 
of the Divine Wisdom. The Scribes professed to expound the 
Law as the expression of the will of God; but Christ has 
received authority to reveal God Himself to those who feel their 
need of Him. The Scribes could not give the rest to souls 
which He can promise (note the emphatic K&yw). ' They bind 
heavy burdens {ft^oprta) and grievous to be borne, and lay them 
on men's shoulders' (xxiiL 4); but His burden is light. This 
shows that ' heavy laden ' {n-efftoprirfjuivoi) does not refer primarily 
to the load of sin, but to the burdens which Pharisaic interpre- 
tations of the Law imposed, and which, after all, gave no relief 
to men's consciences. From Christ's teaching and life men 
could learn the nature of the righteousness which is in accord- 
ance with God's will It is the righteousness of a meek and 
lowly heart, not of external observances. Exalted as Christ is 
through His relation to the Father, He is also related to us 
through His perfect humanity, and from His human life and 
character we can learn by imitation.^ And it is the possibility 
of imitating Him that makes His yoke easy and His burden light, 
for He has borne both Himself. Moreover, He has not only set 
us an example of bearing. He helps us to follow it. There must 
be a yoke and a burden, for a lofty ideal, such as He sets before 
us, is exacting ; but a lofty ideal is also inspiring, and that makes 
the yoke easy and the burden light. 

There are two pairs of expressions in this invitation which 
seem to balance one another : 'all ye that labour and are heavy 
laden,' and 'Come unto Me; take My yoke upon you.' 
* labouring ' (KoviSivT€i) is not the same as being ' heavy laden 
{'jr€i^pTia'/Uyot). The One implies toil, the other endurance. 
The one refers to the weary search for truth and for relief for 
a troubled conscience; the other refers to the heavy load of 
observances that give no relief, and perhaps also to the sorrows 
of life, which, apart from the consolations of a true faith, are so 
crushing.' To those who are worn out with resultless seeking 
Christ says : *Come unto Me, and /will refresh you.' To those 

^ We ought probably to translate * and learn from Me tAaf 1 am meek ' 
{fidSrre dr* ifioD in rpa6t tl/u). In the Testaments we have a similar combina- 
tion of terms: icrl yiip iXtiBiit xal /juiKpMvfios, rpfof koI rartipAt {Dan vi. 
9) ; but the passage looks like a Christian interpolation, of which there are 

* The word for 'easy' ixfiV^^^) is applied to God (Lk. vL 35 ; Rom. it. 
4 ; I Pet. IL 3) to express His gracious goodness and longsuffering. Here 
the Latin Versions have suavis^ but in other places they vary between 
bentgnuSf suavis, and dukis, ' My yoke is good to bear,' is the meaning ; 
it brings a blessing to those who accept it. 


who are weighed down with unprofitable burdens He says: 
'Take My yoke upon you.' 

In using the metaphor of a yoke, Christ was probably employ- 
ing an expression which was already proverbial. In the Psalms 
of Solomon, which are a little earlier than the time of Christ, we 
have: "We are beneath Thy yoke for evermore, and beneath 
the rod of Thy chastening " (vii. 8) ; and " He shall possess the 
peoples of the heathen to serve Him beneath His yoke " (xvii. 32). 
" The yoke " was a common Jewish metaphor for discipline or 
obligation, especially in reference to the service of the Law. 
Thus, in the Apocalypse of Baruch : " For lo ! I see many of 
Thy people who have vrithdrawn from Thy covenant, and cast 
from them the yoke of Thy Law" (xli 3). Comp. Lam. iii. 27 ; 
Ecclus. IL 26 ; Acts xv. 10 ; Gal. v. i ; Ptr^e Aboth^ iii. 8. In 
the Didache (vi. 2) we have " the whole yoke of the Lord," which 
probably means the Law in addition to the GospeL Mackinlay 
thinks that the easy yoke and light burden point to a sabbath 
year as the time of utterance. At that time there would be no 
tilling, and the oxen would have little to do. This may have 
suggested the metaphor (The Magi^ p. 113). But so obvious a 
metaphor hardly needs such suggestion. 

This triplet of sayings (25, 26; 27; 28-30) is beyond the 
invention of any Evangelist The words are their own authentica- 
tion. At what time and in whose presence they were uttered, 
are questions of little moment They are addressed to the 
whole human race throughout all time, and he who understands 
them ''has found his way to the heart of Christianity" (Sanday). 
Coming immediately after the Woes on the unrepenting cities, 
they are all the more impressive. Within the compass of eleven 
verses we have striking examples of both the severity and the 
gentleness of Christ in His dealings with men. And side by 
side with these we have a revelation of that which explains this 
strange combination of sternness and compassion in the Son of 
Man — His unique relation to the God who is both Judge of all 
and Father of alL 

The third saying (28, 29) has various points of contact with the O.T. , especi- 
ally with Isaiah and Jeremiah : comp. Is. xiv. 3, 25, xxviii. 12, xxxii. 17, 
zlii. 2, 3 ; Iv. I ; Jer. vi. 16, xxxi. 25. In Jer. vi. 16 we have Koi ei/pifffert 
iiypiirfibp reus yfruxM dftOv, If dydTavtrcy is not an independent translation 
from the Hebrew of Jer. vi. 16, and if we are to seek a source for it in 
previous writings, then Ecclus. li. 27 may have suggested it. Comp. the 
xiomily attributed to Clement of Rome (2 Clem. 5) : " The promise of Christ is 
great and marvellous, even the rest (drdraiw-is) of the Kingdom that shall be.** 

In ch. xi. we have the following expressions, which are characteristic of 
Mt and are not found in the parallels in Lk. : /AerapaiveiP (i), ixeWcp (i), 
wopej&e<r$at (7), IM (19), r&re (20), ijfiipa xpiffetos (22, 24), deOre (28). 
Peculiar to Mt. : ii ^aikeia tQp oifpaviav (11, 12), ip iKtUn^ rtf xeupf (25), 
iraipot (16) ; ^(curri^s (12) is not found elsewhere in the N.T. 


In the twelfth chapter the Evangelist continues his illustra- 
tions of the misconceptions and hostility to which the Ministry 
of the Messiah was exposed. We have had the Baptist's mis- 
understanding of the Messiah's work, and the persistent disregard 
and indifference with which it was treated in Chorazin, Bethsaida, 
and Capernaum. Here we have three illustrations of Pharisaic 
antagonism, exhibited with increasing vehemence, and culmin- 
ating in a charge of working in league with Beelzebub. The 
two first illustrations have reference to Christ's attitude towards 
the sabbath. 

We now return to the Gospel of Mk. (iL 23). Thrice just 
in this part of his work does Mt. exchange his characteristic 
'Then' at the beginning of a narrative for *At that season' 
(xi. 25, xii. I, xiv. i), a phrase not found in any other Gospel.^ 
The * season ' in this case must have been shortly before harvest, 
and about a year before the last Passover. Our Lord was 
walking in front of His disciples, who plucked and ate the com 
as they followed. This was allowed (Deut xxiii. 25), and the 
Pharisees do not accuse the disciples of stealing. But plucking 
and rubbing the ears was accounted by the Scribes as reaping, 
threshing, and winnowing, and thus was of the nature of work 
or business such as was forbidden on the sabbath (Edersheim, 
Life and Times^ ii. pp. 56, 780; Kiostermann on Mk. iL 23; 
Driver on Deut xxiii. 25). On this the Pharisees fasten. In 
Mt. and Mk. they attack the disciples through the Master, just 
as in ix. 11 (>»Mk. ii. 26) they attacked the Master through the 

Our Lord does not deny that rest on the sabbath is com- 
manded, and He does not stay to protest against the rigour 
which would make plucking and eating com a violation of the 
command. He points out that every rule has its limitations, 
and that ceremonial regulations must yield to the higher claims 
of charity and necessity. This the Old Testament itself showed, 
by the analogous case of David and the shewbread,* and the 
still stronger case of the Priests and the sabbatical sacrifices. 
In the latter case violation of the mle of resting on the sabbath 
was not merely allowed but commanded ; indeed on the sabbath 
the sacrifices and consequent labour were increased. See Gray, 
Numbers^ p. 406. In the incident about David, Mt corrects 

^ 'Then,' however, remains frequent : w, 13, 22, 38, 44, 45, ziii. 36. 
- ' In both places Lk. (v. 30, vi. 2) represents them as attacking the 
disciples only. Here all three have ' and they that were with him,' which 
has special point in reference to the disciples. 

' The analogy ¥ras closer than they could see, — the analog between 
David and his followers in need of food and the Son of David and His 
followers in need of food. Christ could have fed His disciples miraculously, 
but He does not use supernatural means, when natural means are available. 


the slip of Mk. by omitting ' When Abiathar was high priest ' ; 
for Ahimelech was high priest when it took place (i Sam. xxi. i). 
See Gould, ad loc. p. 49. The second argument about the 
priests in the Temple is not in Mk. or Lk., and it may be a 
saying that was uttered on a different occasion, but which Mt 
introduces here because it has reference to the sabbath.^ Its 
point here is that, if the sabbath-rest may every week give way 
to the ceremonial requirements of sacrifices, still more may it 
in exceptional cases give way to the moral requirements of 
charity. People need not faint for want of food in order to 
abstain from working on the sabbath. The quotation of 
Hos. vi. 6, ' I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' has already been 
made, ix. 13, and it is very suitable in both places. We may 
believe that such words were often cited by our Lord. 

'The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath' is in all three. 
The sequence of thought is plainest in Mk. The sabbath was 
made for man, and therefore is subject to the ideal Man, who 
represents the race and has authority to determine the way in 
which the principle of the sabbath can best be carried out for 
man's benefit Christ is not claiming authority to abolish the 
sabbath. The sabbath was the ordinance of God for the good, 
not merely of Israel, but of all mankind. But the traditional 
methods of observing it were of man's devising, and these must 
yield to circumstances. By connecting the sabbath with bene- 
volence, Christ was fulfilling its fundamental purpose. See 
Hqrt, Judaistic Christianity^ p. 33; also Gould, p. 50. The 
Pharisees had made the sabbath an institution so burdensome 
that its Divine character was lost sight of: this could best be 
restored by showing that it was a blessing and not a burden. 
The Son of Man vindicates man's fireedom. 

In ver. 6 the neuter, 'a ^eater thing* * something greater/ * more tl 
the Temple is here * is certainly the true reading ; not the mascuUue, ' 

greater than the Temple.' Perhaps the meaning is the same, viz. the 
Messiah. Bnt the masculine would nave revealed Jesus as the Messiah in a 
more definite way than He is likely to have employed. The neuter might 
mean the Ministry of proclaiming the Kingdom 01 God. The work of Christ 
and His disciples was of more account than the Temple. For /Mxi^or (comp. 
xi. 9) K B D, etc., for it^el^iav (an obvious correction) L A, Vulg. 

This passage (1-8) is one of those in which Mt. and Lk. agree in notable 
particulars against Mk. (see on ix. 17, 20). Here both omit the ambiguous 
iihv voieo' and the inaccurate ivi *Apid0ap i^upitat^ and both insert that the 

^ Both arguments are introduced with the question, * Did ye not readV 
or, ' Have ye not read ? * W hen Christ addressed illiterate multitudes, He said, 
* Ye have heard* (v. 21, 27, 33, 38, 43). When He addresses the Pharisees 
or other educated persons who made a study of the Law, He speaks of their 
reading : six. 4, xxi. 16, 42, xxii. 31. On ot d/yroc r^f rpodiffew see Deiss- 
mann, Bid/e Studies, p. 157. For the rigour of the rules about the sabbath 
see the Book of Jubilees, L 9-13 ; Edeisheim, Lt/e and Times, ii. pp. 777 ff. 


disciples ate the grain, an addition which is remarkable in Mt., who often 
omits redundant statements. Both omit ' the sabbath was made for man, and 
not man for the Sabbath.' 

Mt seems to regard die second incident (9-14) as taking 
place on the same sabbath. Jesus leaves His critics, goes into 
their synagogue, and finds them there ready to oppose Him 
again. Lk. makes it amother sabbath and perhaps a different 
place; he abo says that Christ taught before healing.^ Mk. 
and Lk. say that they watched Him whether He would heal 
on the sabbath, and that He asked them whether it was lawful 
to do good on the sabbath. Mt omits the watching, and says 
that they asked Him whether it is lawful to Aeai on the 
sabbath, to which He replied that it is lawful to do good on the 
sabbath. The argument about the animal in a pit is not in 
Mk., and is given in Lk. in a different connexion (idv. i~6), the 
healing of a dropsical man. Mt. and Lk. agree against Mk. 
in omitting Christ's anger and His grief at the hardening of 
their hearts; also in omitting that the Herodians took part 
in the conspiracy against Jesus.' The former omission is 
characteristic of Mt, who avoids attributing human emotions to 
the Messiah. Comp. viiL 2, 4 with Mk. i. 41, 43, and xiii. 58 
with Mk. vL 6. See Camd, BibL Ess, pp. 429 £ 

Mt. certainly weakens Christ's argument by substituting 
' It is lawful to do good on the sabbath ' for ' Is it lawful to do 
good or to do harm ? to save a life or to kill ? ' To refuse to 
do good is to do evil ; and that cannot be right on the sabbath 
or any other day. And while they condemn Him for restoring, 
without any labour, a man's hand on the sabbath, they have 
no scruple about plotting on the sabbath to kill Him. All this 
is lost in Mt The whole incident is a striking example of the 
power which formalism has to blind men to the proportion of 
things. Because Christ disregarded, not the Divine Law about 
the sabbath, but their imreasonable regulations as to the method 
of observing the law, they thought it right to try to destroy 
Him. Christ's method of meeting their casuistry is to be noted. 
He might have urged that there was no breach of sabbatical 
rest in telling a man to stretch out his band, or in the man's 
trying to do so. But He puts the matter on the broad principle 
that to heal is to do good, and doing good is a very proper vraiy 
of observing the sabbath. Yet this has no good effect upon 

^ In the Gospels the man with the withered hand does not speak. Jerome 
says that in the Gospel which was used by the Nazarenes and Ebionites the 
man took the initiative saying : " I was a mason, earning my bread with my 
hands. I pray Thee, Jesu, restore my health, that I may not in shame beg 

for food." 

* In zxii. z6=sMk. zii. 13, Mt. retains the mention of the Herodians. 
Lk. omits in both places. This miracle took place in Herod's country. 


the prejudiced formalists. They cannot refute Him ; but they 
are sure that one who teaches men to disregard their traditions 
must be a dangerous heretic, and they resolve to destroy Him.^ 

His hour was not yet come, and therefore Jesus withdrew 
from the dangerous neighbourhood, and continued His bene- 
ficent works of healing elsewhere (15). The charge that 'they 
should not make Him known' (16) is given by Mk. (ill. 12) in 
reference to the unclean spirits who proclaimed Him as the 
Son of God. The time was not yet ripe for a general announce- 
ment that He was the Messiah, and demons were not suitable 
preachers. Here Mt mentions the charge in order to introduce 
a fulfilment of Is. xliL 1-4, where the Servant of Jehovah is 
spoken of as the special object of the Divine love, and as 
anointed with the Spirit to judge the heathen. Yet this servant 
does not enter into controversies, nor promote public excitement 
He is careful not to extinguish any spark of good in men's hearts, 
but endeavours to lead them on to better things, till truth shall 
prevail ; so that even the heathen may be brought to trust in 
Him. This prophecy of the second Isaiah has a very different 
meaning in reference to Cyrus, who is to conquer without 
warlike threatenings, and will not trample. on the weak in the 
hour of victory. But the Evangelist sees how much of it is 
true of the Messiah in His bloodless conquest of mankind, and 
be quotes it accordingly.^ It is perhaps specially for the sake 
of the concluding words about the Gentiles that Mt quotes the 
prophecy. For the details of the wording in reference to the 
Hebrew and the Septuagint, see Allen's note; also for the 
details of the relation of what follows (22-50) to Mk. iii. 22-35 
and to Lk. xi. 14 ff. 

The maligni^ of the Pharisees is now exhibited in the charge 
that Jesus casts out demons with the aid of Beelzebub the chief 
of the demons. Both Mt. and LL make the introduction to 
this charge to be Christ's casting out the demon from a dumb 
demoniac, Mt adding that he was blind also.* All the sufferer's 

^ The phrase ' to take counsel ' {ffvfifiouXtoy Xa/Apdweuf) is peculiar to Mt. 
(xii. 14, xxlL 15, xxvii. i, 7, zxviii. 12). It does not occur elsewhere in the 
N.T. nor in the Septuagint, and in Greek literature the word avfifiovXiw is 
rare ; Deissmann, Bidle Studies, p. 238. The phrase means to come to a 
conclusion, rather than to deliberate whether or not. 

* Zahn shows in detail how the prophecy fits the narrative of the Evange- 
list This b one of many places m which the A.V. mistranslates Airf^eiK 
'trust' : xii. 21 ; Lk. xxiv. 21 ; Jn. v. 45 ; Rom. xv. 12, 24, etc. 

* Mt has already recorded the healing of a dumb-demoniac (ix. 32, 33) 
in words rather similar to those used in Lk. xi. 14 of this miracle. ' Dumb ' 
{ku4>&s) probably means deaf and dumb. Some Old Syriac and Old Latin 
authorities have * so that the dumb man spake and saw and heard,* Note 
how Mt., as compared with Lk. xL 14, heightens both the miracle and its 
effect on the multitudet. 


maladies were healed at once, so that the multitudes were 
amazed. In order to counteract the effect of the miracle on 
the people the Pharisees suggested diabolical agency as the 
explanation. In Mk. iii. 20, 2 1 the introduction is quite different 
The enthusiasm for Jesus has become so great that He has no 
leisure for a meal, and His friends say that He is beside Himself. 
Then scribes from Jerusalem make the charge of His having 
Beelzebub. The charge is of great interest and importance. 
It is well attested, for it is in Jn. vii. 20 and viii. 48, 52, as well 
as in the Synoptic Gospels ; and it is not at all likely to have 
been invented It shows to what desperate shifts His exasper- 
ated foes were driven. Was it likely that the powers of evil 
would be parties to widespread acts of beneficence ? Above all, 
was it likely that they would help Him to vanquish themselves?^ 
So far from discrediting Him with the people by such an ex- 
planation, the Pharisees merely discredited themselves, both as 
regards intelligence and honesty. All this was patent at the 
time. But what is important for us is that this charge of Christ's 
being in league with Satan proves that there was something 
extraordinary to explain. If there had not been mighty works 
too remarkable to ignore and too notorious to deny, His enemies 
would never have taken refuge in so extravagant an hypothesis. 
This charge must be set side by side with the Jewish tradition 
that Jesus had brought charms out of Egypt, or had learnt magic 
from Egyptian sorcerers. In both cases we have evidence, uninten- 
ti9nally given, in support of the miracles wrought by Christ. 

In introducing Christ's reply to the charge, both Mt and Lk. 
say that ' He knew their thoughts,' without having heard their 
words. Mk. implies that He was too far off to hear what the 
Pharisees said, for * He called them unto Him.' Comp. Mk. ii. 8 
sMt. ix. 4BLk. V. 22. All three represent Him as substituting 
' Satan ' for their ' Beelzebub.' In the N.T. Satan is always the 
prince of the demons; in the Book of Enoch the Satans are 
numerous, but are under a chief (xl. 7, where see Charles's note ; 
Edersheim, Zifi and Times^ ii. 755). 'If Satan casteth out 
Satan ' does not mean if one Satan casts out another, as is clear 
from what follows. The challenge, * If I by Beelzebub cast out 
devils, by whom do your sons cast them out ? ' is word for word 
the same in Mt. and Lk., but has no parallel in Mk. By 'your 
sons' is certainly not meant the disciples of Christy who of 
course were the sons of Jewish parents, and had been com- 

^ This strange idea, however, was not peculiar to the Pharisees : Eusebius 
{Contra HierocUm^ xxx. I, p. 530 A) says: dalfAovas yiip dweXavwti (LWtfi 
dXXov i ^^i SalfiOPL Healing the deeif and dumb seems to have inspired 
the multitude with special admiration for the Healer (Mk. vii. 37) ; VCG. L 


missioned by Christ to cast out demons. 'Your sons' may 
mean the disciples of the Pharisees^ for great Rabbis sometimes 
called their pupils their 'sons' (Ecclus. vii. 3; Prov. i. 8, where 
see To/s note, p. 13). But more probably it is to be taken 
literally. See Acts xix. 13 and Jos. Ant viii. ii. 5 for instances 
of Jewish exorcisms, and comp. Tob. viiL 1-3. The argument 
is ad hominem. There were Jewish exorcists, and the Pharisees 
did not accuse them of employing diabolical agency. Why then 
did they accuse Christ of Uiis ? There is no need to raise the 
question whether the exorcists were successful : it is enough 
that they were allowed to work unmolested. This they could 
not deny, and thereby they would convict the Pharisees of 
prejudice and injustice, in bringing a charge against Christ 
which they did not bring against their own people. 

The diarge of diabolical agency having been proved to be 
both absurd and unjust, the alternative of Divine agency is 
adopted (28) ; and here again there is no parallel in Mk., and 
Mt. and Lk. agree verbatim^ except that for 'by the Spirit of 
God' Lk. has the Old Testament expression 'by the finger of 
God.' But if God is the cause of the marvellous healing of 
mind and body, then is the Kingdom of God come upon them. 
The Pharisees are in the same case as Chorazin and Bethsaida 
and Capernaum. The Kingdom of God is come near them, and 
yet they are far from the Kingdom of God.^ Indeed they are 
worse than those impenitent cities, the inhabitants of which 
treated Christ's mighty works with indifference. The Pharisees 
treat His miracles with something worse than indifference : they 
blasphemously attribute them to the evil one. See W. M. 
Alexander, Demonic Possession in the N.T. pp. 177-190. 

In the saying about spoiling the strong man of his goods, 
Mt, ML, and Lk. differ considerably as regards the wording, 
Lk« being much more elaborate than the other two. The saying 
was probably proverbial. In Is. xlix. 24-26 the Chaldean asks, 
' Shall prey be taken from a mighty one ? ' and Jehovah replies, 
'The captives of the strong one shall be taken away, for the 
stronger than he has come.' This passage is apparently repro- 
duced in the Psalms of Solomon v. 4 : " No man shall lake prey 
from a mighty man," unless he has first conquered him. The 
Messiah had taken prey from Satan by freeing demoniacs from 
his power ; which is evidence that, so far from being the ally of 
Satan, He has begun to conquer him.^ Perhaps there is here a 

' This is one of the places in which Mt has * Kingdom of God ' instead of 
his usual * Kingdom of the Heavens' (idz. 24, xxi. 31, 43). The latter with 
him means the Kingdom which the Son of Man will come in the heavens to 
inaugurate, and that meaning would not be fitting here. 

' With the almost superfluous ' and then he will spoil his house ' comp 
V. 24, vii. 5. Comp. also the Ascension of Isaiah, ix. 16. 


t^S GOSPEL According to s. Matthew [xXl. so, si 

reference to the Temptation. 'Get thee hence, Satan' (iv. lo) 
was repeated every time that a demon was driven out; and 
every time that a demon was driven out the Kingdom of God 
was brought nearer. In reference to the sovereignty of God 
there are only two sides, for and against. By refusing to take 
part in the work of Christ for the promotion of that sovereignty 
the Pharisees had joined the forces of the enemy. They were 
not on God's side; therefore they were against Him. It was 
not Jesus, but they, who had entered into alliance with Satan. 

This saying about the impossibility of neutrality (30) is 
worded exacdy the same in Mt. and Lk., and has no pandlel in 
Mk. The * gathering' and 'scattering' probably refer to a flock 
or followers rather than to fruit or seeds : comp. Jn. x. 12. This 
is the test which each man is to apply to himself-, if he cannot 
see that he is on Christ's side, he is against Him. The other 
saying about the impossibility of neutrality, 'He that is not 
against us is for us ' (Mk. ix. 40 ; Lk. ix. 50), is the test by which 
to judge others \ if we cannot see that they are against Christ, we 
must give them credit for being on His side. Both Mk. and 
Lk. have both forms of the saying. 

Because the Pharisees had placed themselves on the side of 
Satan, Christ gives them a solemn warning : 'Therefore I say to 
you' (31). By accusing Him of being in league with Satan 
when He was acting in the power of the Holy Spirit, they had 
blasphemed the Holy Spirit, hardening their hearts against the 
Spirit's influence. This is an unpardonable sin. " To identify 
the Source of good with the impersonation of evil implies a 
moral disease for which the Incarnation itself provides no 
remedy" (Swete^. The repetition of this solemn warning in 
ver. 32 is given m a form which is not easy to explain.^ That 
any sin may be forgiven, except blasphemy against the Spirit, is 
simple. That speaking against the Son of Man may be forgiven, 
but speaking against the Holy Spirit shall never be foigiven, is 
not simple. Let us take the first form (31) and apply it to the 
Pharisees. Freeing men from the dominion of evil spirits must 
be good work ; it is the work of God's Holy Spirit. The Pharisees 
had said that it was Satan's work. This is blasphemy against 
the Spirit, and it will not be forgiven. This is a terrible thought, 
but it is intelligible. In order to discredit beneficent work which 
told against their cherished prejudices, they had maliciously and 
deliberately attributed the Spirit's action to Satan. This revealed 
a determined opposition to Divine influence which was hopeless. 
Now let us take the second form (32) and apply it in a similar 
way. How was it possible for the Pharisees to distinguish 

' Lk. (3di. 10) gives only die more difficult form, and that in a difiierent 


between speaking against the Son of Man and speaking against 
the Holy Spirit? It was in speaking against the Son of Man 
that they had been proved guilty of speaking against the 

It is worth considering whether Mt. xii. 32 and Lk. xii. 10 
are not less accurate reproductions of the saying which is given 
in Mk. iii. 28, 29 and Mt. xii. 31 ; and whether there is not some 
confusion between ' the sons of men ' in Mk. iii. 28 and 'the Son 
of Man ' in Mt xii. 32 and L.k. xii. 10 : see Allen's note. But 
we must endeavour to explain ver. 32 as it stands. ' The Son of 
Man' means Christ in His life on earth, ministering to the 
physical and spiritual needs of mankind. In that Ministry there 
was much that was open to misconstruction. He, like other 
teachers and philanthropists, could be misunderstood and 
misjudged. There were gross misconceptions of His words and 
work. All this was deplorable, and by no means always 
innocent; but it was pardonable (Lk. xxiii. 34). Men could 
repent of their careless neglect of His work or their mistaken 
opposition to it, and they did repent, and were forgiven. But 
there is such a thing as opposition to Divine influence, so 
persistent and deliberate, because of constant preference of 
darkness to light, that repentance, and therefore forgiveness, 
becomes impossible. The efficacy of Divine grace remains 
undiminished, but the sinner has brought himself to such a 
condition that its operation on himself is excluded. Grace, like 
bodily food, may be rejected until the power to receive it is lost 
Christ warns the Pharisees that they are perilously near to this 
condition. Against the dictates of reason and justice, they had 
deliberately treated as diabolical a work of the most surprising 
mercy and goodness.^ 

But we must not infer from this that 'speaking against the 
Holy Spirit' is necessarily a sin of the tongue. Blasphemy, like 
lying, may be all the worse for being acted and not spoken. The 
sin of the Pharisees was not con^ned to the words 'He cast 
out demons by Beelzebub ' or ' He has an unclean spirit' The 
mere utterance of an atrocious calumny, perhaps luistily, does 
not constitute an ' eternal sin ' (Mk. iii. 29). It would be more 
in harmony with legalism than with the Spirit of Christ to attach 
terrific penalties to a single external act. It was the character 
revealed by the Pharisees' calumny that was deserving of such 
condemnation. Their disposition must be ' desperately wicked ' 

^ See on i Jn. v. 16 in the Comb, Grk, TisL, and Westcott on Heb. vi. 1-8, 
p. 165 ; DCG.y art ' Blasphemy' ; \>2Xxaasiy Words of Jesus, p. 255. So long 
as the Pharisees maintained their theory, their condition was beyond recovery. 
Every manifestation of Divine power and love could be explained away as 


to make it possible for them to bring such a charge in order 
to explain such a deed as the liberation of a human being 
from the dominion of an evil power which rendered him blind 
and deaf and dumb. Moreover they had previously shown their 
evil disposition on various occasions. They had witnessed some 
of His works of mercy and had heard of many more ; and yet 
they persistently opposed and blamed Him. 

'Neither in this age, nor in that which is to come' is an 
emphatic periphrasis for ' never.' tt is perhaps an enlargement 
by Mt. of Mk.'s ovic . . . ci9 rhv a2a>va. The Jews divided time 
into two ages, the Messianic age and that which preceded it 
Therefore what would take place in neither of these would never 
take place. Seeing that it is not certain that Christ used this 
precise phrase, it would be rash to draw inferences from the 
wording of it^ Even if we could be sure that He spoke in the 
words of Mt rather than in those of Mk., it would not follow 
that He meant more than that of this sin there is no foigiveness, 
because there is no repentance. We cannot safely argue that, 
because it is said that Ms sin will not be forgiven in the age to 
come, therefore there are sins which wiii be forgiven in the age 
to come. That may or may not be true, but it cannot be 
deduced from the form of expression used here. Yet we are free 
to hope that it is true that repentance may be reached and 
forgiveness won in the other world. Scripture affirms that ' now 
is the acceptable time'; but it neither affirms nor denies that 
repentance and forgiveness may be found after death. "Two 
thoughts bearing on the future find clear expression in the New 
Testament We read of an 'eternal sin,' of 'a sin which has no 
forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come,' of ' the worm 
that dieth not and the fire that is not quenched.' And on the 
other side we read of the good pleasure of God ' to sum up all 
things in Christ,' and ' through Him to reconcile all things unto 
Himself.' If we approach the subject from the side of man, we 
see that in themselves the consequences of actions appear to be 
for the doer like the deed indelible; and also that the finite 
freedom of the individual appears to include the possibility of 
final resistance to God. If we approach it from the Divine side, 
it seems to be an inadmissible limitation of the infinite love of 
God that a human will should ever refuse to yield to it in complete 
self-surrender when it is known as love. If we are called upon 
to decide which of these two thoughts of Scripture must be held 
to prevail, we can hardly doubt that that which is most compre- 
hensive, that which reaches farthest, contains the ruling idea; 
and that is the idea of a final divine unity " (Westcott, Historic 
Faith^ pp. 150, 151 ; comp. Salmon. Gnosticism and Agnosticism^ 
^ Dalman, IVords ofjtsus^ p. 147 ; Gould, S* Mark^ P> 196* 


p. 373 ; Langton Clarke, The Eternal Saviour Judge^ pp. 71-115 ; 
Agar Beet, The Last Things^ pp. 246-251). 

The paragraph which follows (33-37) is similar to one in the 
Sermon on die Mount (vii. 17-19), and the parallel verses in 
Lk. vi. 43-45 are closer to this paragraph than to vii. 17-19. The 
connexion here is that the character of Jesus may be known from 
Hb conduct.^ He appeals to the general experience of mankind 
How are distinctions between good and bad men made? By 
the kind of words and acts they produce. It is possible that Mt. 
has inserted the sayings in w, 33-37 from some occasion of 
which the context had been lost; but the connexion just 
suggested is quite intelligible. The sayings fit this context. 
The Pharisees shrank from declaring that casting out demons 
and healing the dumb and blind were evil deeds; yet they 
declare that Christ did them by the power of the evil one. 
They must either treat both deeds and doer as good, or both 
deeds and doer as evil.' On the other hand, the character of the 
Pharisees may be known by their conduct. Their venomous 
slanders were evidence of a corrupt heart, and theirs was so 
corrupt that it was morally impossible for them to utter good 
things. The Baptist had said much the same of them long 
before (iii. 7). Every man's heart is a store-house, and his 
words show what he keeps there. Even lightly spoken words do 
that, and what is said on the spur of the moment is sometimes 
better evidence of a man's disposition than what he says 
deliberately, for the latter may be calculated hypocrisy. But the 
Pharisees cannot escape on the plea that the charge of diabolical 
agency was made hastily without serious meaning. No good 
man would think of such a charge in connexion with such a 
miracle. And to say, " I did not mean it," does not free one 
from responsibility. Even for a purposeless' word we shall 
have to give account ' For it is out of thy sayings that thou 
shalt be justified (Ps. li. 6), and out of thy sayings that thou 
shalt be condemned.' See Montefiore, pp. 625 t 

^ There is a siiftilar passage in the Testaments. It is the soul that takes 
pleasure in good that produces righteousness, and the soul that takes pleasure 
in evil that produces wickedness. All depends on the tretisure of the inclina- 
tion (B^avpi^ ToO Siapovklov) ; AsMer i. 6-9. 

' This use of toc«& is common in the writings of S. John : v. 18, viii. 53, 
z. 33 ; I Jn. i. ID. The primary meaning of <ra.Tp6s is * rotten,' the secondary 
is ' worthless,' which is the meaning here : a rotten tree would not bear any 
fruit. Comp. Lk. vi. 43 ; but Lk. has no parallel to tfv, 34^1, 36, 37. With 
36 comp. Eccles. zii. 14. 

' Jerome's verhum atiosum^ which he escplains as that which does no good 
to either speaker or hearer, is better than Cyprian's verbum vacuum for ^am 
dfTfiw. But Cyprian distinguishes between ^^/ui, verdum, and X67M, semiotus 
(Test, iii. 13), while Jerome has verbum for both (Vulg.). English Versions 
do not distinguish. 


We are perhaps to understand (38) that the Pharisees with- 
drew to. deliberate about their reply to Christ's warning and 
challenge, and that some of them returned with a challenge on 
their side. They speak in a formally respectful tone, but with 
an air of being fully justified b the demand which they make : 
* Master, we desire to see a sign from Thee.' 'Jews ask for 
signs' (i Cor. i. 22), says the Apostle, as if it were characteristic 
of the race ; and it was a demand which was refused for the same 
reason that the request of Dives was refused (Lk. xvi. 29-31), 
because there were signs enough already. Those to whom 
Moses and the Prophets were insufficient would never be con- 
vinced by supernatural signs.^ 

It may be thought surprising that Jesus does not refer the 
Pharisees, as He referred the Baptist (xi. 4, 5), to His own 
miracles. But it was His miracles of healing which they had 
questioned, as being the work of Beelzebub. Moreover, He 
had always declared that His teaching, without His mighty works, 
was sufficient evidence of His mission. It was never His way 
to violate men's freedom by forcing them, against their wills, to 
believe on Him. He worked miracles for the good of mankind, 
and He was willing to use them as credentials of His authority. 
But this was a secondary use; primarily they were acts of 
beneficence. He wrought nothing that was a mere wonder, a 
mere exhibition of power; and this was what the Scribes and 
Pharisees wanted — His Name written in flaming letters across 
the sky. They detested His teaching as revolutionary, and they 
refused to accept His acts of healing as wrought by Divine 
agency. Yet some of them, no doubt, had misgivings, and all 
of them wished to justify themselves with the multitude. They 
ask to be miraculously convinced, and this He refuses. He calls 
those who make such a demand ' an evil and adulterous genera- 
tion,' where 'adulterous' (funxoX/s, which is not in Lk. xi. 29) 
means that they have been faithless to the marriage-tie which 
binds them to Jehovah. ' Faithless Judah hath not returned to 
Me with her whole heart, but feiKnedly, saith the Lord ' (Jer. iii. 
10). The same idea appears in Hos. vii. 13-16. The formalists 
who rejected Christ had abandoned idolatry, but they had been 
faithless to Jehovah in other ways that were more deadly because 

^ It is evident that the Pharisees were not asking for such signs as Jeremiah 
was told to employ, the marred linen girdle, the marred potter's vessel, and 
the like. They desired such miracles as Moses, Elijah, and Elisha had 
wrought, or something still more stupendous. // iCy a pas de limiU aux 
exigences des scepHaues en fait de sumatural (Girodon, S, Luc, p. 327). 

The mention of the Pharisees here by Mt again shows his aversion : they 
are not named in this connexion by Lk. See notes on Mt. iii. 7, xxvii. 62. 
The phrase Tcved fxotxaXis occurs again xvi. 4. Como. Mk. viii. 38, where 
Mt (xvi. 27) omits it See Knowling on Jas. iv. 4. 


more subtle. A little later Josephus says that " no age did ever 
breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from 
the begiiming of the world " {B,J. v. x. 5, xiii, 6 ; vii. viii. i). 

There is no donbt that ver. 40 is part of the original text of this Gospel ; 
it is absent from no MS. or version. But there is good reason for believing 
that it was no part of Christ's reply on this occasion. I. It is not in Lk. zi. 
29-32. 2. It does not fit the context, which speaks of preaching producing 
repentance and is in no wav concerned with the Resurrection. 3. It would 
not be intelligible to Christ s hearers, who knew nothing of His future Resur- 
rection. 4. The parallel drawn between Jonah and Christ is not true. Jesus 
was in the grave one whole day and part of two others ; i.e. He rose on the 
next day but one after His death, and this is expressed in Greek, in both 
sacred and profane writers, by * op the third day ' (r% rplrd, with or without 
•iifiipq), Comp. xvi. 21, xx. 19. The less accurate expression, 'after three 
days' (/lerd rpeh ^ft^pas) means the same thing (Mk. viii. 31, x. 34). In 
Gen. xlii. 17, 18, Joseph put his brethren 'into ward three days. And 
Joseph said unto them the third day.' But the facts will not justify the 
statement that Christ's body was ' three days and tAree nights ' in the grave. 
Comp. Lk. xiii. 32; Acts xxvii. 18, 19; Exod. xix. 10, ii ; passages which 
make it quite clear that ' on the third day ' means ' on the next day but one,' 
and not 'on the next day but two.' See Field, Otium Nonnc, iii. p. 8. 
The saying is repeated without explanation xvi. 4, and probably our Lord 
gave no explanation here. 

The verse may be a gloss which has got into the authority which Mt. 
used ; or it may be an insertion made by Mt. himself on the supposition that 
Christ's mention of Jonah referred to him as a type of the Resurrection. The 
latter b more proliable, and in that case we have a parallel to L 22, 23, 
where Mt.'s reflexion about the fulfilment of prophecy is given as part of the 
message of the Angel. Justin Martyr ( Try, 107) says that Jonah was "cast 
up from the belly of the fish on the third day " (rf rpi-nQ iffUpq^), thereby 
making the correspondence exact. See Sanday, Batnpton Lectures^ 1893, P* 
432; Salmon, The Human Element^ p. 217; DCG, iL p. 269; Moulton, 
Modem Reader^ s BihlOy p. 1696 ; Allen on Mt. xii. 40. 

Our Lord's mention of Jonah as preaching to the Ninevites 
does not require us to believe that the story of Jonah is history. 
In His own parables He made use of fiction for instruction. 
Why should He not use an O.T. parable for the same purpose ? 
If He were on earth now, might He not quote Dante ? If our 
Lord had said, 'As the rich man killed the poor man's ewe- 
lamb, so ye rob the fatherless and the widow,' would that have 
proved that Nathan's parable was literally true? S. Paul's 
mention of Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim, iii. 8), and S. Jude's 
mention of Michael's dispute with Satan for the body of Moses, 
are similar cases. See Briggs, The Messiah of the Gospels^ p. 189 
note; Gore, Batnpton Lectures^ 1891, pp. 195-200; Sanday, 
Batnpton Lectures, pp. 414-419; with the literature there quoted 

If we regard the saying about the three days and three nights 
as part of our Lord's reply to the demand for a sign, the meaning 
will be that the only sign which will be given is the sign of His 
Resurrection. When they have carried into effect their plans to 


destroy Him (14), God will deliver Him from the grave as He 
delivered Jonah from the belly of the sea-monster, and that sign 
may possibly convince them. If not, they will be more im- 
penitent than the Ninevites. But here the reference to Jonah's 
deliverance from the fish seems to be superfluous. The argument 
runs smoothly when the preaching of Jonah is compared with 
the preaching of Christ, and the penitence of the Ninevites 
is contrasted with the impenitence of the unbelieving Jews. 
But, in order to bring in Jonah's miraculous deliverance, we 
must assume that he told the Ninevites of this (as to which 
nothing is said in the O.T.), and that it was this wonderful sign, 
rather than the threat of Divine judgment, which converted 

With improved chronology, and also with better rhetorical 
effect, Lk. places the case of the Ninevites after that of the 
Queen of the South.^ In the day of judgment both she and the 
Ninevites will be able to condemn the unbelieving Jews, for they 
made a much better use of smaller opportunities than the Jews 
did of greater ones. What was Solomon as a teacher of wisdom, 
and what was Jonah as a denouncer of wickedness, compared 
with Him whose wisdom and warnings were alike rejected by 
those who said that He was in league with the evil one ? What 
painful egotism there is in these sayings if He who uttered them 
was merely a human teacher I And yet, with what quiet serenity, 
as being beyond question, they are uttered 1 ' 

The parable about the demoniac who is cured and then 
allows himself to be repossessed by demons (43-45) is placed by 
Lk. (xi. 24-26) immediately after the saying that he who is not 
with Christ is against Him. Such a demoniac illustrates the 
impossibility of being neutral. He flees from the evil one 
without seeking Christ, and thus falls more -hopelessly into the 
power of the evil one again. Here the parable illustrates the 
condition of the Jewish nation, which had gone through a 
temporary repentance, and then had fallen into far worse sins 
than before. The worship of idols had been given up, but had 
been followed by a worship of the letter, which had been fatal to 
the spirit of religion. The temporary repentance may refer to 
this abandonment of idolatry, or possibly to the religious excite- 
ment produced by the preaching of the Baptist. That revival 
had in many cases been very superficial; few of those who 
experienced it had become followers of the Messiah, and 

> This is the earliest example of ' Jemen ' » ' South ' being used for South- 
west Arabia. 

* " He declares Himself possessed of virtues which, if a man said he had 
them, it would be the best proof that he did not possess them and did not 
know himself. It is either the most insane arrogance of self-assertion, or it it 
sober truth " (Maclaren). 


they who had not done so would end in putting Him to 

The 'waterless places' mean the wilderness, in which evil 
spirits are supposed to dwell. Azazel lives in the wilderness 
(Lev. xvi. 10). Comp. Bar. iv. 35 ; the Septuagint of Is. xiii. 
21 ; the Vulgate of Tob. viii. 3; Rev. xviil 2. Allen quotes a 
remarkable incantation illustrating the same thought The 
demon is exorcised with the words: "O evil spirit — to the 
desert O evil demon — to the desert, etc." But this does not 
seem to be a case of exorcism ; the demon says : ' I will return 
to my house whence I came out' He does not say : * whence I 
was driven out,' and he still calls it ' my house,' for no one else 
has taken it God has not been asked to occupy it It is 
* standing idle ' (<rxoAxifovTo) — placed first as the chief error.* It 
is 'swept, and garnished' — with sham virtues and hypocritical 
graces, the " darling sins " of the evil one, and therefore likely to 
attract any of his ministers. It is garnished, as whited sepulchres 
are garnished ; but it is not guarded by the presence of God's 
Holy Spirit, and hence the fatal result The former demon 
returns with seven others worse than himself, and ' they enter in 
and settle there (fcaroiKct ^kci), making it their permanent abode ' 
(xxiii. 21).' 'So shall it be also to this evil generation.' They 
have not reached this desperate condition yet, but they are in 
danger of it, and some of them will reach it The warning is 
similar to that about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which 
He does not say that they have committed, although they are 
near it 'Worse than the first' is a proverbial expression (xxvii. 
64; comp. 2 Pet ii. 20; Heb. x. 29; Jn. v. 14); but the 
Speaker does not, like the writer to the Hebrews (x. 26), include 
Himself as possibly within its sweep. 

The visit of Christ's Mother and brethren (46-50) is by Mt. 
expressly connected with the previous utterance : * While He was 
still speaking to the multitudes.' Neither Mk. (iii. 31) nor Lk. 
(viii. 19) give any note of time; comp. ix. 18: also xvii. 5, 
where Lk. agrees with Mt, and xxvi. 47, where all three agree. 
In Mt and Lk. 'without' (?fo)) means outside the crowd: in 

^ In Mk. iz. 25 Christ commands a demon to come out from a man etnd 
enter no more into him, which seems to imply that the return sometimes took 
place. Here dUpx^rai perhaps means * wanders about ' ; comp. Acts viii. 4, 
40, z. 38, xz. 25 ; 2 Chron. xvii. 9. See also the enlargement in the LXX. 
of Prov. xxviii. 10. 

' There is no ffx"^^^"^''^ ^ I'k* ; and Mt. may have added it to make a 

* With the seven demons here comp. the seven cast out of Mary Magdalen 
(* Mk.* xvi. 9) and the * seven spirits of seduction * (^xrA rfev/iara -rijs 
rXdrrjs) in the Testaments {Reuben ii. i, 2), and what is said of the man that 
refuses to do good : 6 dtdfidkos oUeioOrou a^di' is tdiw aKeOot, '* dwells in him, 
as his own peculiar vessel " {Natktali viii. 6). 


Mk. it seems to mean outside the house (iiL 19). On the 
'Brethren of the Lord' see on i. 25 and the literature there 
quoted ; to which add Lightfoot, Galatians^ pp. 253-291 ; 
Encyclopedia Biblicay artt * Clopas ' and * James * ; J. B. Mayor, 
Expositor^ July and August 1908 (a thorough reinvestigation of 
the question). There is nothing in Scripture to forbid the 
antecedently natural view that these * brethren ' are the children 
of Joseph and Mary, bom after the birth of Jesus, and (apart 
from prejudgments as to what seems to be fitting) L 35 may be 
regarded as decisive. 

Our Lord's reply here is not a censure on His relatives for 
seeking Him, nor does He deny the claim of family ties. He 
uses their appeal as an opportunity for pointing out that there 
are ties which are far stronger and claims that are far higher 
(x. 35, xix. 29). The closest blood-relationship to the Messiah 
does not, any more than descent from Abraham, constitute 
any right to admission to the Kingdom, and human parentage 
does not make any one a child of God (Jn. i. 13). It is 
spiritual conditions which avaiL But Christ does not say that 
any disciple, however loyal, is His father. In the spiritual 
sphere His Father is God. Mt. alone specially mentions that 
it was the disciples who were pointed out by Christ as His 
nearest relations, and he alone inserts 'which is in heaven' 
after *My Father.' The mention of 'sister' (Mt, Mk.) with 
'brother' and 'mother' (50) is no proof that His sisters were 
present on this occasion, although many authorities insert ' and 
Thy sisters' in Mk. iii. 32. It is possible that Mt. regarded 
the incident as a fit conclusion to this section, which treats of 
misunderstanding of the Messiah's teaching and opposition to 
His work. His devotion to His mission involved separation 
from even His Mother and His brethren. Of the latter we 
know that they did not believe on Him (Jn. vii. 5), a fact 
which is conclusive against any of them having been among 
the Twelve Apostles. 

The whole of ver. 47 is probably an interpolation from Mk. and Lk. It 
b wanting in our best and oldest aathorities (K B L F, Syr-Sin. S3nr-Ciir. and 
some Old Latin texts). Mt has rendered the statement unnecessary by 
'seeking to speak to Him' in ver. 46 ; and he mach more often reduces the 
redundant statements of Mk. than enlarges what Mk. gives. With w, 48-50 
comp. Hom. //. vi 429 : "Ejrro^, ^.rbkp v^ yjok iwi rar^p koX r&rina fi'/frrip 
'HM Koaiynfrat. " The silence of the Synoptists respecting her (the Mother 
of our Lord) throughout His ministry is astounding, and it is continued in 
Acts, where she is named (i. 14) and then disappears from history. Nor do 
the epistles give any information ** (Wright, Synopsis, p. 35). 

Cnaracteristic expressions in ch. xii. : T&r€ (13, 22, 38, 44), furafiahftw 
(9), rope6«ff$ai (l), xal IdoO (lO), Hrw rXrifxbBji (17), rpoa^ftip (22), ytppij- 
/uara ^cdrwr (34), $7faavp6s (35), VM^pa, Kplaewt (36), d rofHjp iw roit otpwoit 
(50). None of these occur in the parallel passages. Peculiar : 49 iK€lw<p 


Tfp KolfHfi {1), ffvfipo^Xtoy Xa/i/3<iy«r (14), rb ^rjOip (17). None of the follow- 
ing are found elsewhere in the N.T. : ijfalTios (5, 7), cUper/^ecy (18), iplj^eiw 
(19), niipeip (20). 

The insertion 'of the heart' (r^t xapBlas) after 'the good treasure' (I^ 
Syr- Sin. Syr-Cur. some Old Latin texts, Arm. Aeth.) is followed in AV. 
but abandoned in RV. It comes from Lk. vi. 45, where it is genuine, 

zm 1-Gd. Illustrations of the Messiahs Use of 


'On that day' and 'went out of the house' (i) are additions 
made by Mt. to the narrative of Mk., and the reason for them 
is not obvious : no house has been mentioned. As regards the 
rest he follows Mk. ; but he omits 'in the sea' after 'sat,' 
probably because he saw that it was ambiguous. In xxiL 23 
there is a similar insertion of ' on that day.' 

The central idea of the parable of the Sower (3-8) is that, 
the seed being uniformly good, the difference of crop depends 
upon the character of the soil which receives the seed. Soil 
may be bad in a variety of ways, and there may be various 
degrees of goodness in the crop. Lk. is much more brief than 
Mt. or Mk. in describing the seed on the rocky ground, and 
he gives only the hundredfold crop. Mk. alone has the intro- 
ductory ' Hearken ' : all three have the concluding ' let him hear ' ; 
comp. xi. 15, xiii. 43. As it is the same Greek verb in both 
places, we desiderate the same English verb in both : but ' He that 
hath ears to hear, let him hear ' is too familiar now to be changed. 

We have had various parables already in the examples of 
Christ's teaching which have thus far been recorded; the salt 
and the light (v. 13-16), the fowls and the lilies (vi. 26-30), 
the two gates (viL 13, 14), the wise and the foolish builders 
(viL 24-37), the garments and the wine-skins (ix. 16, 17), the 
children in the market-places (xi. 16, 17); but they have been 
short and incidental. Henceforward they become more elaborate, 
and they form a large proportion of Christ's teaching. This 
was probably caused by the decreasing enthusiasm in many of 
Christ's followers and the increasing animosity of His opponents. 
Parables would insti;uct disciples whose minds were still in 
harmony with the Teacher and yet would give little opening 
to His enemies. Parables, while they revealed the truth to 
those who could profit by it, concealed the mysteries of the 
Kingdom from the unworthy, who could not understand them, 
or would be injured by them if they did understand.^ This 

' It is rash to say that Christ neither did nor could adopt a policy of con- 
cealment, and that the Evangelists have confounded intention with result, 
and have thus imputed an " inhuman purpose " to Christ. The quotation in 
▼er. 13 is in all four Gospels (Mk. iv, 12 ; Lk. viii. 10; Jn. xii. 40). 


concealment of the truth was a judgment on the unworthy, but 
a judgment full of mercy. They were saved from the guilt of 
rejecting the truth, for they were not allowed to recognize it 
And they were also saved from profaning it, for by parabolic 
teaching Christ carried out His own maxim of not casting 
pearls before swine (vii. 6). And the parable was a mercy to 
the unworthy in yet another way. A parable not only arrests 
attention at the time, it impresses the memory; and, if the 
hearer's heart afterwards becomes receptive, he understands 
the lesson which he missed when he heard. Christ's parables 
were taken from familiar objects, and His hearers, when they 
saw the objects afterwards, would be reminded of His words. 
And although they were primarily intended for Jews of Palestine 
in His own time — a fact which must be borne in mind in 
interpreting them, yet there is little that is specially Jewish or 
Palestinian in them. Only one or two have Jewish features, 
and hardly one has anything which is decidedly Palestinian 
(Stanley, Sin, and Pal, p. 432). They were intended for the 
Jew first, but also for the Gentile ; and all sorts and conditions of 
men of sill races and generations have been instructed by them. 

The parable of the Sower is a leading and testing parable 
(Mk. iv. 13). It is one of the three (all dealing with vegetation) 
which are in all three Gospels, the other two being the Mustard- 
seed and the Wicked Husbandmen.^ And it is one of which 
we have Christ's own interpretation. In that interpretation it 
is specially remarkable that the 'birds,' which we should 
probably have explained as impersonal temptations, are ex- 
pressly, in spite of the plural number, said to mean 'Satan' 
(Mk.), *the evil one' (xMt.), 'the devil' (Lk.). Among the 
things which choke the word Mk. alone mentions 'the lusts of 
other things,' and Lk. alone has 'pleasures of this life.' Mt. by 
having neither spoils a triplet, which is unusual with him. 

The disciples' question is given differently by the Evan- 
gelists. Mk. says that they 'asked Him the parables.' Lk. 
understands this as signifying that they asked the meaning 
of this particular parable. Mt gives it the much wider significa- 
tion of a question as to the purpose of parables generally.' 

^ In this chapter we have two of these, together with a third on a similar 
subject, viz. the Tares. Mackinlay thinks that these repeated references to 
sowing were made at the time of the first sowing after the year of Sabbath, 
which he dates a.d. 26-27. ' Upon the thorns, iwX rdt dtrdrtfat (7) means 
upon places where the roots of tnese plants were concealed. In ver. 8 note 
the change from aorist to imperfect. 

' This involves a change in Christ's reply from &a iki\ to An od. Christ 
could not be said to aim at preventing all His hearers from understanding. 
Mt. inserts ver. 12 before the explanation of the parable : both Mk. (iv. 25) 
and Lk. (viii. 18) place it after the explanation. 


Christ replies that the purpose is educational to disciples, and 
disciplinary to those who refuse to become disciples. Instruc- 
tion is given in a form which the unreceptive, through their 
own fault, cannot understand It is easy to see how this 
illustrates the law that to him that hath more shall be given; 
the hearer that has sympathy with the truth is instructed. It 
is less easy to see how he that hath not loses even that which 
he hath, or thinketh he hath (Lk. viiL 18). Perhaps the 
meaning is that the unworthy hearers become less and less 
able to receive the truth, the more often they listen to parables 
without understanding them. For ' understanding ' in Scripture 
is a matter of the heart rather than of the head, and the organ 
which is never used at last loses its power ; the ears that never 
hear become deaf. Comp. xxv. 29 and Lk. xix. 26. The quota- 
tion from Is. vi. 9, 10, which Mk. gives in an indirect form 
(iv, 12), is giveri by Mt. in the words of the Septuagint directly. 
And the way in which Mt. introduces the quotation (14) is 
remarkable. He does not use the phrases, 'that it might be 
fulfilled' {Iva or iircDS irXtfpwS^), or 'then was fulfilled' (totc 
cirXi7pa>^), which he usually employs when he himself points 
out that something is a fulfilment of prophecy. Here it is 
Christ who points out the fulfilment, and Mt reports Him as 
doing so with the very unusual formula, 'there is being filled 
up to them ' {ivavktipovrai avrois), t\e, in dieir case the prophecy 
is being fully satisfied.^ 

It is also to be remarked that this is one of the passages 
in which Mt omits what is unfavourable to the disciples. Mk. 
iv. 13 has : ' Know ye not this parable? and how shall ye know 
all the parables?' For this rebuke Mt substitutes, 'Do you, 
therefore, hear the parable of the sower.* Comp. xiv. 33 with 
Mk. vi. 52 ; xvi. 9 with Mk. viii. 17 ; xvii. 23 with Mk. ix. 32 ; 
and see Allen, pp. xxxiiif. Both here and elsewhere Lk. 
exhibits a similar tenderness for the Twelve. It is in harmony 
with this feeling that Mt. and Lk. give the special Beatitude of 
the disciples, ' Blessed are your eyes,' etc. which Mk. omits. Lk. 
has this Beatitude after the return of the Seventy (x. 23, 24) 
and words it differently. And his arrangement is to be pre- 
ferred, if the Beatitude was uttered only once ; but it may have 
been spoken both to the Twelve and to the Seventy. Prophets, 
such as Balaam, Moses, Isaiah, Micah, and righteous men, such 
as the Psalmists, had desired to see what the Twelve had seen. 

^ The compoimd di^arXiipSw is found nowhere else in the Gospels, and 
it is used nowhere else in the Bible of the fulfilment of prophecy. Here it 
seems to imply that there has been partial fulfilment in the past, and that 
this is now made complete. The word fAwrHipiop also, frequent in the Pauline 
Epistles, occurs nowhere in the Gospels, excepting ver. 11 =Mk. iv. iisLk. 
viii. xo. In the LXX. it is frequent in Daniel and the Apocrypha. 


In the Psalms of Solomon we have similar utterances : '' Blessed 
are they that shall t>e born in those days, to behold the blessing 
of Israel" (xvii. 50; comp. xviii. 7). Here there is a strong 
emphasis on the pronoun : ' Blessed are your eyes.' But this 
blessing will be realized, only if they understand what they see 
and hear. Christ therefore explains the parable to them, and 
once more there is great emphasis on the pronoun, ' Do yau^ 
therefore, hear the parable of the sower.' Beware of indifference, 
of shallowness, and of worldliness, which is trying to serve God 
and mammon. It is the good and single heart that understands 
and bears fruit 

This interpretation of the parable has been criticized as being 
allegorical and going too much into detail, so that the main 
lesson is lost. If this were true, we should have to assign the 
interpretation to the Evangelists, who have put their ideas into 
Christ's mouth. But it is not true. The interpretation is 
beautiful in its simplicity, although part answers to part, and 
not merely whole to whole. There is apparent confusion of 
language, because of the double meaning of ' sown ' : the seed 
may be said to be ' sown ' and the ground may be said to be 
' sown,' and in the interpretation these two meanings are mixed* 
But this apparent confusion may be due to the Evangelists, and 
it causes no difficulty. The interpretation remains perfectly 
clear, that though Christ is the Sower, and sows the word of 
truth, yet the result depends upon the character of the soil. 

It by no means follows that because every parable has one 
main lesson, therefore no parable has more than one lesson. 
The interpretations which have been given of the parables of 
the Sower and of the Tares indicate that it is lawful to seek a 
meaning for some of the details. In the Sower, nearly every- 
thing is interpreted ; in the Tares, some things are interpreted 
(the sower, the good seed, the enemy, the tares, the field, the 
harvest, and the reapers), and some are not (the people's 
sleeping, the enemy's going away, the servants of the house- 
holder, and the binding of the bundles). It requires much 
judgment to decide whether any of the details of a parable are 
significant, and, if so, which. Very early in the history of the 
Church imagination began to run riot in this respect, for 
TertuUian protests against it In the parable of the Lost Coin 
are we to find a meaning for the number ten, for the lamp, for 
the broom? "Curious niceties of this kind not only render 
some things suspected, but by the subtlety of forced explanations 
generally lead away from the truth" \De Pudic, ix.). And 
Chrysostom goes the length of saying that when we have found 
out the main lesson, we need not trouble ourselves further {in 
Mt Horn. bdv. 3). That is too narrow a view. But the 


endless difficulties about the Unrighteous Steward are the result 
of making the details mean something. The aptitude of details 
for allegorical interpretation is no proof that these meanings 
were intended by Christ See Trench, Parables^ ch. iii. ; Sanday, 
Outlines^ pp. 68-74 \ Hastings* DB.^ art. * Parable.* 

Nor is it any objection to the value of a parable that it 
teaches only one lesson, or only a very few, while it leaves 
important questions connected with the main subject untouched. 
No parable could be equal to the complexity of human life or 
of religious problems. In the Sower, neither in the parable, 
nor in the interpretation, is anything said as to the causes of the 
differences between the classes of hearers. What made some 
to be indifferent, others shallow, others worldly, and others again 
receptive in varying degrees ? We are told elsewhere that there 
are whole and there are sick (ix. 12), that some will receive the 
Messiah's messengers and some not (x. 11-13)) that there are 
those who are too wise to be childlike, and those who are 
childlike without being wise (xi. 25), and that some trees are 
good, while others are worthless (xii. 33) ; but in all these places 
the hearers are supposed to know from the experience of their 
own hearts how these momentous differences arise. Their 
business is to see to which class they themselves belong, and 
to act accordingly. We should p>erhaps see this more clearly if 
we called this searching story, not the parable of the Sower, but 
the parable of the Soils ; and we have to see to it that the soil 
of our own hearts is soft, and deep, and clean.^ 

There is yet another point on which the parable gives us 
no information, — the proportion between the different kinds of 
soils, and especially between the good and the bad soils. Is 
indifference more often fatal than shallowness or worldliness? 
Is thirtyfold more common than a hundredfold? Is bad soil 
more common than good, so that most of the Sower's seed is 
wasted? Are those who are in the way of salvation many or 
few? The answer to these questions is the same as before. 
To which class do you belong? Strain every nerve to belong 
to the best (Lk. xiiL 23, 24); and this will be all the more 
imperative, if you find that you are producing, not thirtyfold 
instead of sixty or a hundred, but nothing at all; if you find 
that you are not for Christ, and therefore against Him. It is 
your business to strive to enter the Kingdom, and to help others 
to enter ; how many succeed and how many fail — * what is that 
to thee ? ' 

Mt. omits tbe parable of the Seed growing secretly 
(Mk. iv. 26-29) <^<^ substitutes that of the Tares. The 

> Comp. Jer. iv. 3 : ' Break np your &II0W gronnd, and sow not upon 
thorns/ iA\ ffTelptire iv* dcdi^act. 


Evangelist's reasons for arranging the six parables which follow 
the Sower as he does are not clear ; for a possible explanation 
see Allen. The arrangement itself is clear enough. Four 
parables were spoken from the boat to a mixed multitude on 
the shore, and then, in the house, Christ explained the Tares 
to the disciples and delivered three more parables. The 
explanation of the Sower was not given at once, although it is 
placed immediately after the parable. The explanation of the 
Tares was not given at once, and it is fwt placed immediately 
after the parable. In the one case Mt. has followed Mk.'s 
order, in the other he cannot do so, for Mk. omits the Tares. 
Mt either follows the order of the source from which he got 
these parables, or he adopts an order of his own. Mt may 
have placed the Tares next to the Sower because of the 
similarity of subject; but it is quite as possible that this 
similarity led to the two parables being spoken at the same 
time. The one treats of different soils producing from the 
same seed crops varying from zero to a hundredfold ; the other 
treats of the same soil producing a mixed crop from mixed seed. 
But both are addressed to the multitudes ; not one to the laity 
and the other to the cleigy, not one to subjects and the other 
to rulers. 

The traditional rendering * tares ' for {t^oKia is unfortunate, 
but cannot be changed. 'Tares' in the parabolic sense has 
become a household word in English literature. But the plant 
in the parable is not the common vetch, which has no 
resemblance to wheat, and is useful enough in its way, but the 
bearded darnel {lolium temulentuni)^ which in its earlier stages 
is indistinguishable from wheat, and which often breeds a 
poisonous fungus. Modem farming in the East has improved 
upon the methods mentioned in the parable. After the ears 
are developed, but before the harvest, the darnel and other 
tall weeds are pulled up and destroyed, so that at the harvest 
the crop is quite clean. Both in Palestine and in Cheshire the 
peasants believe that darnel is d^enerated wheat, and that in 
bad seasons wheat will turn into darnel; the truth being that 
much wet rots the wheat and stimulates the darnel It is said 
that in France the malicious sowing of fields with weeds is not 
unknown. See Groser, Scripture Natural History \ Henslow, 
The Plants of the Bible ; Tristram, Natural History oj the Bible ; 
Shakespeare, King Lear^ Act iv. sc. 4.^ 

In the Tares, as in the preceding parable, the Sower is 
clearly indicated, and in both cases the seed is good. But in 

' In likening the Kingdom to various things, three expressions are used : 
— 6fion&$iil (xiii. 24, xviii. 23, xzii. 2), 6fiMM$i^€TM (zxv. 1), and 6/ioia 
: i9Tlif (nil 3i» 33. 44. 45. 47). 


the Tares the soil is all good, and the crop would be all good, 
but for the malice of the enemy, 'while men slept' The 
sleeping is not blamed ; after honest toil it was right that they 
should sleep; but it was then that the enemy had his 
opportunity. It would have been easy to represent the weeds 
as sown by the wind ; but just as in the Sower our Lord makes 
the birds represent, not impersonal temptations, but Satan, so 
here He makes the noxious plants to be sown by a personal 
evil agent, who scatters false apostles and false doctrine broad- 
cast through God's world. The field is the world (38), not the 
Church, which gives too narrow a meaning to the parable, and 
leaves out of account the of good and bad who are 
not Christians. And, once more, men are divided into just two 
classes, tares and wheat, sons of the Kingdom and sons of the 
evil one. He that is not with Christ is against Him. Christ 
gives no explanation of the servants who propose to weed out 
the tares, and we need not seek one. There are always persons 
who are ready to propose drastic remedies for real or supposed 
evils, and it is with regard to them that the main lesson of the 
parable is given. Men are not to anticipate the judgment of 
God, for they will do much more harm than good by attempting 
to do so. They have not sufficient knowledge. They do not 
always know how to distinguish the bad from the good, nor do 
they know how the removal of the bad may affect the good. 
A plant that will turn out very well may easily be mistaken for 
a weed; and the lives of good and bad are often so closely 
intertwined that the violent removal of the one is sure to cause 
injury to the other. That the bad may become good is not 
taught by the parable, but it is provided for in the absolute 
prohibition to root up any. It is not for man to call down fire 
from heaven upon those whom he regards as the enemies of 

The parable may have a reference to the teaching of the 
Baptist and his message to Christ In his preaching he had 
laid his chief emphasis upon the judgments that await the 
impenitent, — the axe, the winnowing fan, and the unquenchable 
fire. He had said little about the Messiah's mercy and love. 
He had been impatient with Jesus for not being sufficiently 
prompt in carrying out John's conception of His mission. The 
Messiah here repeats the lesson : 'Judgment is Mine,' not man's. 
And, though the Divine judgment never fails, yet it does tarry ; 
and it is the Divine patience that roan roust strive to imitate. 
Man is shortlived and is often hasty. He who is from ever- 
lasting to everlasting can afford to wait. 

Both Mt. and Mk. group together three parables that are 
taken from the vegetable world, the first and the third being the 



same in each, — the Sower and the Mustard-seed Both Mt and 
Lk. group together two parables respecting the spread of the 
Gospel, — the Mustard-seed and the Leaven; but Lk. places 
this pair later in the Ministry, just after the healing of a woman 
in a synagogue on the sabbath (xiii. 18-21). In this pair Christ 
points out some of the characteristics of the Kingdom which 
He so often mentioned in His teaching, its small beginning, its 
gradual increase, and its immense development. It will embrace 
all peoples and nations, and it will penetrate and transform 
their entire life (31-33). 

It is not quite certain what plant is meant by the mustard, 
but sinapis nigra is probable. It is some plant which grows to 
a large size from a very small seed (xvil 20) ; but ' tree ' (hkvhpw) 
does not necessarily mean a timber-tree. We speak of a rose- 
tree and a gooseberry-tree. Whether any other characteristics 
of the mustard-plant are alluded to, such as its medicinal qualities, 
is doubtful. " Small as a mustard seed " was a Jewish proverb 
to indicate a very minute particle : and " so that the birds of the 
heaven can lodge in it" was a phrase for a great Kingdom giving 
protection to many (Dan. iv. 9, z8 ; Ezek. xxxi. 6). 

Leaven (33) is commonly used as a metaphor for evil influ- 
ence, which disturbs, puffs up, sours, and corrupts. " It is bom 
of corruption " says Plutarch, ycyovcK Ik 4>0opa% : and leaven was 
forbidden during the Passover. Comp. i Cor. v. 6 ; Gal. v. 9. 
But oiu: Lord is not deterred by these associations from using 
it to symbolize the sure and subtle influence of the Gospel 
Comp. Ignatius, Magnes, z. There was a common expectation 
that the Messianic Kingdom would come 'with observation,' 
suddenly, with much show of power and glory. These two 
parables teach a different lesson. The tiny seed was buried in 
the earth ; the leaven was hidden in the meal. The begiimings 
of the Kingdom were unnoticed, and the ignorance of its character 
was worldwide. But, whether noticed or not, the plant grew, 
and the leaven conquered the meal. 

How does it conquer the meal? By the influence of the 
small piece of leaven upon the particles nearest to it, and of 
those particles upon others that are nearest to them, ' till it is 
tUl leavened.' That Kingdom in which the will of God is 
acknowledged until it becomes supreme is to spread from soul 
to soul until all are brought within His sovereignty. It spreads 
from Christ to the Twelve, and from the Twelve to the infant 
Church, and so on until the whole mass is reached and trans- 
formed. Each Christian soul is to be a missionary, passing on 
the subtle influence to others, for he must not receive and refuse 
to give. This implies that the Christian must live in the world, 
for the leaven csuinot work without contact. Human life must 


be touched at all points, in order that its work and its play, its 
religion and its relaxation, its politics and its commerce, its 
science and its arts, may be raised and warmed by the penetrating 
action of Christian morality and Christian ideals. He is no true 
Christian who either shuns society for fear of contamination, or, 
when he goes into society, leaves his Christianity behind him. 
He who does not pass on the influence of the saving leaven is 
working against it. 

There is no need to seek a meaning for the number three. 
The * three measures ' may be suggested by Gen. xviii. 6. Nor 
is there any significance in the change from a man (31) to a 
woman (33). Baking is a woman's work, as sowing seed is a 
man's. Comp. the change from the sheep-owner to the woman 
in Lk. XV. llie important point is the marvellous development, 
external and internal, of Christianity. 

Having concluded the group of four parables spoken to the 
multitudes from the boat (2-33), Mt. now adopts Mk. iv. 33, 34 
as a suitable conclusion, and adds a fulfilment of prophecy 
(34, 35). In adopting Mk. he omits * but privately to His own 
disciples He expounded all things.' The omission may be 
another instance of sparing the Twelve. Perhaps Mt was un- 
willing to state that they needed to have all things expounded 
to them. The prophecy is from Ps. Ixxviii. 2, mainly from the 
Hebrew, but perhaps influenced by recollection of the Septuagint 
' I will open my mouth with a parable, I will utter riddles con- 
cerning times of old ' ; ue, the Psalmist will expound the lessons 
which the history of Israel contains. The Psalmist was not 
directly predicting anything respecting the Messiah's manner of 
teaching; but his own method was an anticipation of Christ's. 
As he used Israel's past to point a moral, so Christ used the 
facts of nature and of human life to teach the truths of the 
Gospel. On the reading ' Isaiah ' see Nestle, p. 251. 

We are not told when our Lord left the boat, but that is 
probably included in ' He left the multitudes and went into the 
house' (36). The disciples' coming to Him (10) is perhaps 
mentioned by anticipation, and we may suppose that the ex- 
planations both of the Sower and of the Tares were given after 
the house had been reached. 

*The end of the world' or 'consummation of the age' 

(crvKTcActa auDvos or yi awriXtia rev aUavo^) is frequent in Mt. 

(39, 49, xxiv. 3, xxviii. 20^ and in apocalyptic literature (Dalman, 

Words of Jesus, p. 155), and 'consummation' (crvvrcXcto) is 

frequent in the Septuagint.^ Comp. Heb. ix. 26 and Westcott's 

^ In the Testaments we have avmiktia rwy olfStviaw {Levi x. 2) and avwr. 
rod tJi^ot {Benjamin zi. 3); but in both places texts Taiy between r. 
alibftaw and r. a/2)rot. 


note. The world is not the Kingdom, although it contains 
* the sons of the Kingdom.' But the Son of Man brings the 
Kingdom with Him, and at that consummation ' the sons of the 
evil one ' may be said for the moment to be in the Kingdom ; 
but they are immediately expelled, as having no right to be in it 
(41). That is' the meaning of 'gather out of His Kingdom.' 
There are two kinds of evil that are expelled, all that * cause 
stumbling,' and all that ' do iniquity.' The former class indicates, 
what is not stated in the parable, that the tares may cause the 
wheat to degenerate. Iniquity or 'lawlessness' (dyofiCa) is in- 
fectious and poisonous, like the fungus on the darnel.^ 'The 
furnace of fire' occurs only here and ver. 50. Excepting Lk. 
xiii. 28, 'the weeping and the gnashing of teeth' is peculiar to 
this Gcspel (viii. 12, ziiL 42, 50, xxii. 13, xxiv. 51, xxv. 30): in 
none of the passages is anything said about the duration of the 
misery. Compare the Ascension of Isaiah, iv. 18. 

' Shine forth as the sun ' (43) is a common simile (xvii. 2 ; 
Rev. i. 16; Judges v. 31; Ecclus. L 7; Ep. of Jer. 67). It is 
especially appropriate here, for they will be in the light of Him 
who is the Sun of righteousness (Dan. xiL 3). The interpretation 
of the Tares closes with the same refrain as the parable of the 
Sower (9) and the praise of John the Baptist (xi. 15). It is 
sometimes misunderstood as referring to a favoured minority, 
gifted with special intelligence as to spiritual truth, or as referring 
to those who are willing to hear. All have ears ; and therefore 
all are responsible for refusing to listen. A man cannot plead 
that he was unable to hear. The word was brought to him, and 
he rejected it. 

The Evangelist represents the remaining three parables 
(44*50), which complete the total of seven, as spoken to the 
disciples in the house. The first two, like the Mustard-seed and 
the Leaven, are a pair, based on the truth that a man will sacrifice 
all his goods to obtain that which he is convinced is &r more 
valuable. That is how every one who knows about it ought 
to feel respecting the Kingdom. No earthly possessions are 
too precious to be given in exchange for it. While the Mustard- 
seed and the Leaven illustrate the progress of the Kingdom in 
society, the Hid Treasure and the Pearl show Uie Kingdom as 
a personal discovery and acquisition. The two men in the 
parables are alike in two respects: they know a very valuable 
thing when they see it, and they are willing to pay the highest 
price in order to secure it But they differ in the fact that the 
one finds a great treasure without looking for it, while the other 
has been carefully seeking. This difference is true to life. One 
man suddenly finds himself face to face with a great truth or a 

^Sceon vii. 23, p. 117. 


noble ideal, in the Bible, in some other book, in the life of an 
acquaintance, in some personal crisis ; and he has to make np 
his mind whether to grasp it or let it pass. Another man pain- 
fully seeks and collects all that can give value to life and elevation 
to conduct, and he at last finds something in comparison with 
which everything else is of small account ; and there is not much 
doubt what he will determine to do. Both have found 

*'the great world's altar-stairs, 
That slope tnrongh darkness up to God."* 

There is no need to raise questions as to the morality of the 
man, who hid the treasure before going to buy the field.^ He 
may have hid it to prevent it from being stolen, or to prevent 
himself from being anticipated in buying the field. We are not 
told that he concealed firom the owner his reason for being willing 
to give all that he possessed for the field. But even if he was 
guilty of sharp practice, that ought to afford no difficulty. This 
detail, //it is in the parable, is in the framework, and has nothing 
to do with the intended lesson. It is like the alterations in the 
bonds suggested by the Unrighteous Steward (Lk. xvL 6, 7), and 
has no meaning. It is the man's readiness to part with all that 
he had, in order to secure the treasure, that counts.' 

' All that he had.' It was a heavy price ; but in each case 
it was joyfully paid, and Christ's followers must be ready to do 
the same. ' He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is 
not worthy of Me ' ; but ' He that loseth his life for My sake, 
shall find it' (x. 37, 39). Who is it that makes these enormous 
claims upon all mankind ? Who is it that offers, to those who 
respond to the claims, such enormous rewards ? 

The parable of the Net is a pair to that of the Tares. It 
teaches the same lesson, and has a similar ending. As in the 
field there are both wheat and tares, so in the draw-net there are 
fishes both good and bad ; and here there is room for the thought, 
though it is not suggested, that there may be degrees of goodness, 
and also of badness, in the fishes in the net. * Every kind ' tells 
us nothing as to moral worth, but indicates, in a way that the 
wheat and the tares could not do, that there are all sorts and 
conditions of men in the world. If it were not for the partial 
explanation in ver. 49, the Net might seem to be at variance 

^ Origen makes this represent the economy of hiding the secret meanings 
of Scripture from those who are not able to appreciate them. 

' The change of tense from whrpaKtv {iT(if\riff€r, D) to ifydpcLfffr can hardly 
have any point. The aorist of rtrpda-Kv seems to be found only in Epic, and 
in late Greek the difference between aor. and perf. became less sharp ; comp. 
las. L 24. See Blass, § 59, 5 ; J. H. Moulton, Gram, of N, T, Gr. p. 142. 
The beginning of ver. 45 should resemble that of ver. 44. The Kingdom is 
like the pearl, not like the merchant 


with the Tares, for the fishermen in the former parable seem to 
be analogous to the servants in the latter, and the fishermen do 
separate the bad fish from the good. But the explanation shows 
that those who cast the net into the sea are not the same as 
those who separate the fish. The one is the work of the Apostles 
(iv. 19), the other of the Angels. Till the net is brought to shore 
at the Day of Judgment the bad are fi-ee to mix with the good.^ 

This second group of parables being ended (44-50), Mt 
gives another conclusion, which might have served as an ending 
to the whole seven. The two longest parables have been 
interpreted in detail, and a partial interpretation has been given 
of the last parable. The intermediate parables are simpler in 
character, and with the key to the more elaborate ones the 
disciples might be expected to see the meaning of all Christ 
asks them whether this is so (51), and they reply that they 
have understood. This would convince them that the method 
of teaching by parables, the purpose of which they had 
questioned (10), was a good one : it had instructed themselves, 
and would enable them to instruct others. In a higher and 
better way, they were to be to the Gospel what the Scribes 
were to the Law.* They were to produce, for the benefit of 
their hearers, not merely old things in the old form, but things 
both new and old in a new form; and they were to use old 
things as a vehicle for truths that were new to that generation. 
They were to take the familiar phenomena of nature, and the 
experiences of everyday life, and make them the instruments 
of a spiritual revelation. 

With the formula of transition, 'when Jesus finished' (53) 
comp. vii. 28, xi. i, xiii. 53, xix. i, xxvi. i. It makes a break 
preparatory to an incident which illustrates, by an extreme 
case, the rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish people. ' He 
came unto His own inheritance, and His own people received 
Him not' (Jn. L 11). See on vii. 28, p. 119. 

This was perhaps the first visit to 'His own country' 
Nazareth since the beginning of His public Ministry. They 
were astonbhed at the wisdom of His teaching in their 
synagogue, and at the report of His mighty works, but they 
were o^ended that one whom they had known all their lives as 
of humble origin and life, and with whose brothers and sisters 

' It is difficult to believe that Christ could have given these interpretations 
ot the parables of the Tares and of the Net (39, 41, 49), if there are no such 
beings as Angels. They do not look like accommodations to current beliefs. 
And it is not likely that the Angels were no parts of His interpretation, but 
have been 'mporteid into it b^ tradition : comp. xvi. 27, xviiL 10, zzii. 30, 
«iv. 31, 36, XXV. 31, 41, XXVI. 53. 

' Aid TovTo means ' Because ye have been made to understand by means 
of parables ' ; it it almost equivalent to ' Wdl, then.' 

Xm. 68-65] TH£ MINISTRY tU GALILEt) t$$ 

they were intimate, should have attained to such eminence. 
Instead of being proud of Him, and glorifying God for Him, 
they were jealous of Him and belittled Him. He was nothing 
but the member of a very ordinary family, and what right had 
He to teach them new ways of 1^? Christ's explanation of 
their conduct is a proverb, parallels to which exist in various 
languages. Pindar tells Ergoteles, the runner, that his fame 
would have faded away at the family hearth, if fortime had not 
driven him from home {Ofym, xii. 13). Seneca says: l^ 
habetur^ quod domi est {De Benef. iii. 3). 

The changes which Mt makes in the narrative of Mk. are 
of great interest For *Is not this the carpenter, the Son of 
Mary?' he has, *Is not this the carpenter's Son? is not His 
mother Mary?' He shrinks from calling Jesus Himself a 
carpenter, and he separates the two kinds of sonship. Legally, 
as shown by the genealogy in ch. L, Jesus was the Son of 
Joseph; actually, as shown by the narrative in ch. L, He was 
the Son of Mary. That Mk. does not say ' the Son of Joseph 
and Mary ' is remarkable. This may imply no more than that 
Joseph was dead ; but it may imply that there was no human 
father.^ It cannot imply that Mk. believed that Joseph was 
actually His father. With a similar feeling of reverence, Mt 
changes ' He could do no mighty work, save that He laid His 
hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them : And He marvelled 
because of their unbelief into ' He did not many mighty works 
there because of their unbelief.' He shrinks from the ' amid 
not,' and also from the 'marvelled,' although he has admitted 
this previously (viiL 10) with regard to the centurion's great 
faith. Mk. has 'marvelled' in both places. The Evangelist 
probably regarded the rejection of Jesus by His own people at 
Nazareth as a prophetic intimation of His rejection by the whole 
nation at Jerusalem ; and he may also have regarded the murder 
of the Baptist, which now follows, as a prophetic type of the 
murder of the Messiah. So detailed a narrative of John's 
death would not have been given merely to explain the craven 
fear of Antipas that Jesus was the murdered Baptist risen from 
the dead. The story of John's end is required to complete the 
account of his message to the Messiah and to illustrate the 
Messiah's eulogy of him (xi. 2-19); and, as the one narrative 
begins with a message carried by John's disciples from Machaerus 
(zi. 3), so the other narrative ends with one (xiv. 12). 

^ The former is more probable : it explains how Jesus Himself came to 
be called 4he carpenter.' The relationships are tersely stated in the Acta 
TAoma, 143, Bonnet, p. 250 : iK\ii$Ti vlbt MapLas icapdipov, koL ijKo6<r$ri vlbs 
Hktowos 'Iw(ri}^. The irpds iificis of the sisters means * in constant intercourse 
with us' : Mk. iz. 19 s Lk. iz. 41 ; Mk. xiv. 49. 


Characteristic expressions in ch. xiii. : ffv/t^p€ip (2), ldo6 (3), trpoffip- 
X€<r0ai (10), oUoSemrinit (27, 52), ffwdytiw (30, 47), Tin'€ (36), 6 fipvy/ids 
TtMf MvTtav (42, 50), Biiffavpit (44, 52), aurpds (48), /M$itT€V€iw (52), 
^reitfor (53). Peculiar: 1^ ficunKMta rfir o^/Nur^r (ii| 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47, 
52), t6 fifih (35), fnirriKeuL [toC] al&wo9 (39, 40^ 48), ^taatL^Tw (36 and zviiL 
31 only). Owing to the subject-matter of iit chapter, the number of expres- 
sions in it which occur nowhere else in the N.T. is laijge : rapapoMfw wapa- 
riBinu (24, Ji), hrunreipea^ (25), iPKpdrrtuf (33), ipe^taOai (35), BtfurHtt 
(30. 39). ^K\dftr€tM (43), ffayi^pii (47), dnfiipd^ (48), dryw (48), /uralpw 
(53). <niwn<di'e«r (30), ^^lFta (25-30). 

In the translation of the phrase 6 K\a,v$/t^t koX 6 fip. r. 666mty the AV. 
again exhibits caprice. In this chapter (42, 50) it is rendered ' wailing and 
gnashing of teeth/ elsewhere ' wuping and gnashing of teeth,' which the RV. 
adopts everywhere. 



This section, like preceding sections, is grouped round a 
prophecy of Isaiah, which is quoted zv. 8, 9 ; and it ends with 
the discourses on offences and forgiveness. Ch. zviiL, like 
v.-vii., X., and xiii., seems to be meant as the conclusion of a 
section of the Gospel, and it consists, as they do, almost entirely 
of discourses. In this and the following sections, Mt. keeps 
closely to the order of Mk., not breaking it, as he often does 
in the first half of the Gospel, in order to group the materials 
according to similarity of subject 

ZIV. 1-14. The Murder of the Baptist and the Retirement 

of the Messiah, 

All three Gospels mention that Herod Antipas heard the 
report of Christ's mighty works. This cannot refer to the few 
healings at Nazareth just mentioned, but rather to those at 
Capernaum, and the various towns in which He had laboured 
since the plots of the Pharisees had led to His leaving His 
usual centre. It is surprising^ that Antipas had not heard of 
the fame of Jesus sooner. At Tiberias, where he often had 
his court, the marvellous works done in Chorazin, Bethsaida, 
and Capernaum must have been well known. But Antipas was 
often away from home, and sometimes out of his dominions, 
and princes often know much less than their subjects of wha* 
goes on close to their doors. The extension of the movement, 
inaugurated by John and carried on by Jesus, would cause it 
to be more noticed by Herod. Now that Christ was moving 
from place to place, while six pairs of Apostles were also 
itinerating in Herod's dominions, he would be much more 


likely to hear about Christ and His mighty works. But it was 
the report that John whom he had beheaded was risen from 
the dead that specially excited Herod's interest and fears.^ 
That a risen John should work miracles seemed to him probable 
enough, and his guilty conscience was uneasy as to what John's 
return from the grave might mean for himself. Of all the con^ 
jectures that were current respecting Jesus, the belief that He 
was John come to life again seemed to him to be only too 
probable. If we had only Mt, we might think that Antipas 
himself originated this idea, and no other conjectures are 
mentioned. But Lk., who had special information respecting 
Herod's surroundings, says that Herod was told this first by 
others, and apparently tried to disbelieve it' He had tried to 
bury the thought of the murder, but the memory of it had 
risen again and again to torment him, and now the murdered 
man himself seemed to have risen again to rebuke him. Origen 
mentions a tradition that Jesus and John resembled one another ; 
and, if that were true, the theory of John's resurrection would 
be all the more likely to arise. 

In this indirect way, because Antipas heard of Christ's 
miracles and thought that He might be the Baptist restored to 
life, the murder of the Baptist comes to be mentioned. No 
doubt it was of great interest to the first body of Christians, 
and hence was preserved in their traditions ; but in the Gospels 
it comes to be recorded because of the interest excited in 
Antipas by Christ Lk. mentions John's imprisonment and 
death (iii. 20, ix. 9) but gives no details, and Mt abbreviates 
the narrative of Mk. It is only in connexion with the Messiah 
that the Baptist is of importance to the Evangelist John had 
been His Forerunner in the Ministry, and he was to be the 
same in suffering an unjust execution. John preceded the 
Messiah in birth and in mission ; and he now precedes Him in 
a violent death. 

Mt corrects Mk.'s inaccurate ^king Herod' by calling him 
* Herod the tetrarch^ (i), as also does Lk. Very possibly it was 
customary to call these petty potentates 'kings,' and Mt himself 
does so later (9) ; but Herodias ruined Antipas by urging him to 
try to get himself recognised as a king by Caligula (Josephus, 
Ant xvill. vil 2). The 'servants' (rots iraurlv avrov) are his 

^ Comp. "Then did the ghosts of Aleiander and Aristobulus go roand 
all the palace, and became the inquisitors and discoverers of what could not 
otherwise be found out" (Josephus, B.J. i. zxx. 7). 

* The reading in Mk. is doubtful, but *theysaSA* (B D and Old Latin) 
is more probable than * h§ said' (KACL etc) in vi. 14. 'They were 
saying . . . Others were SBymg . . . Others were saying' is the probable 
connexion. It should be noticed that aU these conjectures about tesus an 
indirect evidence of the reality of His miracles. 


courtiers, who are called 'servants' in Oriental fashion.^ We 
need not suppose that he gossiped with his slaves (8ovXo() 
about such things. It was not lawful for him to have Herodias 
as a wife, for her first husband was alive ; and even if he had 
been dead, marriage with a sister-in-law was forbidden (Lev. 
xviii. 1 6). Antipas had put away his own lawful wife, the 
daughter of King Aretas, in order to form the incestuous union 
with Herodias; and this brought him into disastrous collision 
with Aretas. See Schiirer, /ezuisA People^ i. ii. 17-30; notes on 
2 Cor. xi. 32, 33 in Cam, Grlu Test.; JDCG. i. p. 722. The 
enmity of Herodias to John for striving to induce Antipas to 
put her away was implacable. It was mainly her doing that 
Antipas imprisoned John, and she would have persuaded 
Antipas to kill John, if his fear of the people (5) had not 
counterbalanced her urgency. Hence there is no contradiction 
between 'he would have put him to death' (5) and 'the king 
was grieved' (9). He would have killed John to please 
Herodias ; but on all other grounds he was sorry to put him to 
death, for he not only feared the people, but stood in awe of 
John himself (Mk. vi. 20).* 

That the daughter of Herodias was not the daughter of 
Antipas need not be doubted ; a daughter of both of them would 
have been only about two years old, while a daughter of 
Herodias by her first husband might be about seventeen. Bad 
as Herod was, he cannot justly be accused of allowing his own 
daughter to degrade herself by dancing to please revellers at a 
banquet. He promised her ' whatever she should ask,' to which 
Mk. adds ' unto the half of my kingdom ' (Esther v. 3, 6, vii. 2). 
This promise * with an oath ' he was ashamed to break, especially 
as it had been made in public Like many weak, bad men, he 
thought more of what people would say of him than of what was 
really sinful; and there are many to whom a breach of the 
decalogue is less dreadful than a breach of etiquette. In such a 
case as his, to have broken the rash oath, into which he had 
been entrapped, would not have been sin, but repelhtance. But 
the pressure of Herodias, of his oath, and of those who heard it, 
was now too strong for his vacillating conscience, even when 
backed by the fear of the people ; and he gave the fatal order.' 

^ Amid prmcipum^ plerumque fuverus^ says Bengel. Saul talks to his 
'servants' in a similar way (i Sam. xviii. 22-26) ; David also. 

On the omission of 'Philip' (3) in D and Latt. see Nestle, Text Crii. 
p. 252. 

' Origen oddly enough suggests that birthday celebrations are wrong ; 
"we find in no Scripture that a birthday was kept by a righteous man." 
Pharaoh (Gen. zl. 20) and Herod Antipas are the two examples. 

'The striking parallel between Ahab, Jezebel, Elijah, and Antipas, 
Herodias, John, has often been pointed out 


Thare was a palace as well as a fortress and a prison at 
Machaerus, and we may accept the impression produced by the 
narratives, that the banquet was close to John's prison, and that 
he was beheaded the same day. Herod's grief is shown in his 
allowing John's disciples to tsike away the corpse and give it 
decent burial. It was a courageous thing for them to attempt. 
That 'they went and told Jesus' (12) was natural enough, and 
perhaps indicates that they now became His disciples. Their 
telling Him shows that Christ's rebuke to the Baptist (xL 6) had 
caused no estrangement between Him and John's disciples, and 
this last message carried by them from Machaerus forms a 
remarkable counterpart to the first Then they had carried the 
message of John's impatience respecting the Messiah ; now they 
carry Sie news of his cruel death. 

Mt regards the news of the murder of the Baptist as the 
cause of Christ's withdrawal to a desert place apart.' ^ But Mk. 
and Lk. make the withdrawal a consequence of the return of the 
Twelve, who had attracted an embarrassing number of followers. 
Both views may be right; but the withdrawal gives only 
temporary relief from the pressure of the multitudes. While 
Jesus and His disciples take ship and cross the lake (13), the 
people go round by land and find Him once more. As the 
Twelve have returned, there is no counter-attraction anywhere, 
and Christ is again the sole centre of teaching and healing.' 
' He came forth and saw a great multitude ' probably means that 
He left the boat and found a crowd awaiting Him : the people 
had got there first It means that He came out of His 

ZIV. 15-86. 2^ Feeding of Five Thousand and the 

Walking on the Sea. 

The feeding of this multitude is the one miracle which is 
recorded by all four Evangelists, and each makes it the climax of 
the Ministry. Henceforward attention is directed more and 
more to Christ's predictions of His death, and to the hostility 
which was to bring about their fulfilment It is Jn. who tells 
us that the miracle took place a little before the Passover, and 
therefore just a year before the Passion. It may be doubted 
whether Mt. had any information other than Mk., whom he 
abbreviates.' The difficulty of feeding such a multitude became 

^ Comp. iy. 12, where Jesus withdraws when He hears that John had 
been delivered up to Herod. 

* Here, as at xix. 2, Mt substitutes ' healing ' for the ' teaching ' in Mk. 

* Nevertheless, Mt alone has : * They have no need to go away,' and 
< Bring them hither to Me.' 


more pressing as the evening approached, and then (as the 
Synoptists relate) the disciples point it out to Christ : in Jn. He 
takes the initiative in questioning Philip as to what is to be done. 
In reply to His charge, *Give ye them to eat,' Mk. has a 
question, which might sound like sarcasm, ' Shall we go and buy 
two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat ? ' Mt 
omits this, and Lk. turns it differently. Jn. alone mentions that 
it was a lad who had the five loaves, that they were of barley- 
bread, and that it was Andrew who pointed the lad out.^ The 
orderly manner in which the multitudes are fed is more clearly 
brought out in Mk. and Lk. than in Mt, but Mt retains their 
beii^ made to sit down before receiving any food. This was 
security against crowding round the distributors, and all had an 
equal chance of being satisfied : it was also some security against 
waste. The food was given to the Twelve to distribute, and 
perhaps we are to understand that their hunger was satisfied 
first ; otherwise they might have been unequal to the work of 
feeding so vast a multitude. In any case, when the miracle is 
understood as a figure of Christ's methods in supplying the 
spiritual needs of mankind, it is to be noted that it is through 
the Apostles that the human race is fed. The Lord is not tied 
to any one method; but, as a rule. He works through His 
Church. Not, * / will give them,' but ' Give ye them to eat ' are 
His words, although ' I will give them ' would have been true. 
It is through the Christian body as an organized society that the 
Gospel is made known to the world. And it is those who have 
themselves been fed by the Word and know its value, that can 
best pass it on to others. 

Another point to be noted is the narrow limits within which 
the supernatural element in the feeding is restrained. It is 
confined to what was absolutely necessary, and goes no further. 
If an exhibition of power had been the main purpose, something 
much more striking might have been wrought The food might 
have come down visibly from heaven. It might have been 
not only multiplied, but distributed, miraculously. Ten times 
the amount that was required might have been provided, and it 
might have been of a much richer quality. But there was no 
creation of food. A very small store of existing food was made 
to suffice — we know not how. But all four accoimts show 
that in Christ's hands, and perhaps also in the hands of the 
disciples, the food increased as long as increase was needed. 
That the miracle did not consist in hunger being removed 
without food is shown by the twelve baskets of fragments, an 
amount far exceeding the original store. 

' " As residents of Bethsaida, Philip and Andrew would know how food 
oould be procured in that region " (S. J. Andrews, Life of Our Lord^ p. 326), 


This gathering up of the fragments for future use is a remark- 
able feature in all four narratives, and Jn. tells us that it was 
done by Christ's command. It is an emphatic protest against 
waste, which cannot be justified even when God's gifts are 
superabundantly supplied. And it is a strong guarantee for the 
trustworthiness of the accounts. A writer of fiction would not 
have represented a wonder-worker who could multiply food at 
pleasure as careful about fragments of barley-bread and fish. 
And in the narratives of both the miraculous feedings of 
multitudes we have this detail of gathering up the fragments 
carefully preserved (xv. 37; Mk. viii. 8^; and again when 
Christ refers to the two miracles (xvi. 9, 10}. In fictions about 
an inexhaustible purse, the possessor is not represented as being 
careful against extravagance ; e.g. in Chamisso's Peter SchkmiM, 
This argument stands, even if we accept the view that the 
feeding of the 4000 is only a divergent account of the feeding of 
the 5000. In that case, although discrepancies huve crept in 
with regard to unimportant details, yet the remarkable provision 
against waste of the superfluous food is preserved intact. It is 
impossible, on critical principles, to eliminate this miracle from 
the Gospel story, or to explain it away. See Sanday, Outlines 
of the Life of Christy pp. 121-123; ^' Weiss, Life of Christy ii. pp. 
381-385 ; "The story is a fact supported by the testimony of all 
four evangelists, not a baseless legend, or a religious allegory " 
(A. B. Bruce, (id loc,) ; // n^ a pas dans Vhistoire tvangelique . 
d^totnement mieux attestk que celui-ci ; mais il tCy a pas nonplus 
dant la caractire franchement sumaturel soit plus tvident ni plus 
incontestable (P. Girodon on Lk. ix. 10-17) \ ^hn, ad loc. p. 511. 

The blessing or thanksgiving is in all four accounts, as also 
in both accounts of the 4000. It is the usual grace before meals 
said by the host or the head of the house, and we are perhaps 
to understand that it was the means of the miracle. The 
thanksgiving and breaking of bread at the institution of the 
Eucharist is naturally compared with this. And the complete- 
ness of the result is noted by all four ; the multitude not only 
ate, but were all filled, and there was food to spare. But Mt 
alone, in the account of both miracles, adds, after the estimate of 
the numbers, * beside women and children ' (xv. 38). He loves 
to emphasize the wonderful character of the Messiah's mighty 
works; and perhaps he regarded as certain that only the men 
would be counted in a Jewish estimate of the numbar. See 
on viii. 16, p. 128. 

* And straightway He constrained the disciples to enter into 
the boat, and to go before Him unto the other side ' (Mt xiv. 22, 
Mk. vi. 45) is a statement which does not explain itself. Evidently 
there is much urgency on the Lord's part, and apparently there is 


some unwillingness on theirs. They desire to remain with Him, 
but He desires to be free from them and to be alone for the 
work of dismissing the multitudes. Lk. is silent: we get the 
explanation incidentally from Jn. He tells us that Jesus perceived 
that the people ' were about to come and take Him by force, to 
make Him king,' so great was the effect which the miracle had 
had on them.^ Here (they were convinced) was the Messiah for 
whom they had been looking ; and He must be made to play the 
part which they had always expected from the Messiah, He 
must be a great popular leader, deliver the nation from the 
Roman yoke, and reign as a still more glorious Solomon. This 
sincere but wrong-headed enthusiasm might easily have infected 
the disciples, and perhaps had already begun to do so, when our 
Lord delivered them from it by quickly sending them away. 
He then freed Himself from the people and retired up the 
mountain-side to pray.* 

This attempt to make Jesus a national king marks the climax 
of the popular enthusiasm for Him. Since the beginning of the 
Ministry this has been on the increase. For some time past 
the hostility of the hierarchy has been on the increase also ; and 
henceforward that hostility becomes more and more pronounced, 
while the popular feeling in His favour, although it is by no means 
extinguished, steadily declines. His refusal to be declared a 
king was fatal to His position from the point of view of the Zealots 
and those who sympathized with them. The discourse on the 
Bread of Life put before them a Messiah altogether different 
from the one for whom they were hoping, and perhaps was 
hardly intelligible to many of them. Not only occasional fol- 
lowers, but regular hearers were offended. ' Upon this many of 
His disciples went back and walked no more with Him' 
(Jn. vL 66). Such passages as xvL 20 and xvii. 9 (comp. Mk. 
vii. 24, 36) acquire a new significance, when we remember the 
outburst of political feeling after the feeling of the multitudes. 

Christ's retirement to a * mountain ' for stillness and devotion 
(ver. 23) is mentioned several times (Lk. vi. 12, ix. 28). Mt, 
Mk., and Jn. all record it here. 

^ There was a tiadition that the Messiah would feed the people with 
Wead from Heaven as Moses had done in the wilderness. Jesus had fed the 
people in the wilderness with bread that came in a miraculous way. The 
mference was easy. 

'Jn. and the Synoptists differ considerably as to the details of what 
followed the feeding of the 5000. According to Jn. , Jesus escapes from the 
multitudes without dismissing them ; accordmg to the others He dismisses, 
first the Twelve, and then the multitudes. /^ so many of the people bad 
come on foot from Capernaum and elsewhere, there was nothing surpiisiog 
in Jesus being left behmd to return to Capernaum on foot. 

On Mt.*s fiivonrite 'there' (^xct), where Mk. has nothing of the kind, see 
on xzvii. 47. 



The mirade of Christ walking upon the sea is often spoken 
of as a legend. Goethe said it was one of the most beautiful 
of legends and a special favourite of his. The episode respecting 
Peter teaches so clearly that faith and courage will triumph over 
the greatest obstacles, while doubting timidity is sure to fail. 
But the miracle is reported by two of the Synoptists and sup- 
ported by John ; and the addition about Peter, although reported 
by Mt only, is so exactly in harmony with his character, that 
invention is unlikely. The lesson of the miracle is part of the 
education of the Apostles, and supplements the lesson abready 
given by the calming of the storm (viii. 26). Christ is never 
forgetful of His followers, and with Him they have nothing to 
fear. Nor have they anything to fear when they are obeying 
His orders. It was He who had compelled them to enter the 
boat and had sent them across the water, and He would not 
allow them to perish. The criticism that the times given are 
incredible is not very strong. It is urged that Jesus must have 
sent away the multitudes long before 1 1 p.m. The lake is only 
seven or eight miles broad, and the disciples were near the 
middle of it when Jesus approached them about the fourth 
watch of the night, which begins at 3 a.m. They cannot have 
been five or six hours in rowing three or four miles. But there 
is no real difficulty here. They may have lingered near the 
shore for an hour or two watching the dispersion of the crowds, 
and wondering whether, after all, Christ would not require to be 
taken over in the boat^ When they did begin to cross, *the 
wind was contrary,' and they may often have been driven back. 
They were * tormented * (jSacravtfo/xcVovs) by the laborious rowing, 
and it was part of their lesson that they should be disheartened 
and worn out by fruitless exertions before He came to their aid.' 

They would no doubt remember the time when Jesus had 
calmed the storm on the lake and freed them from danger ; but 
that thought would increase their distress. Then it was daylight, 
and Jesus was with them; now it is night, and He is away. 
Why had He sent them out into the storm without Him? But, 
though they could not see Him, He was watching them fix>m 
the shore (Mk. vi. 47, 48). His delay in going to help them is 
like His delay in going to Lazarus. ' Now Jesus loved Martha, 
and her sister, and Lazarus. When therefore He heard that he 
was sick ' (not^ He went to them at once, but) ' He abode at 
that time two days in the place where He was ' (Jn. xi. 5, 6), 
It was just because He loved His disciples so well that He let 

^ Jn. says: 'It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them* 

(vi. 17). 

* Mk. says that the disciples were ' tormented ' ; Mt. applies this expres- 
sion to the boat (comp. viii. 6, 29, and see Gould on Mk. ri. 48). 


their trouble do its work before He relieved them. Not until 
the last watch of the night does He come to them, and then 
they do not know Himl It often happens that the means 
which He uses to help His servants are not recognized as His, 
and are not recognized as help. Possibly they thought that 
this apparition was a messenger of death to them, or that Jesus 
Himself had perished, and that this was His ghost 'They 
cried out for fear/ And then He answered them with cheering, 
assuring, encouraging words, and, like the Magdalen at the 
tomb, they knew Him by His voice. They knew that He who 
before had said to the winds ' Peace, be stiU,' was He who, with 
still stranger power, 'treadeth upon the waves of the sea' (Job 
ix. 8).^ Their fear of Him and their distress at the storm were 
both dispelled * Then are they glad, because they are at rest ; 
and so He bringeth them unto the haven where they would be ' 
(Ps. cvii. 30). 

Both Mt and Mk. report the ' walking upon the sea,' and 
Mk. relates that ' they all saw Him ' : there was no delusion. 
Mk. also says that * He wished to pass by them ' (ijf^cXcv vof)cX0ciK 
avrovs), which Mt. omits, perhaps disliking the expression of an 
apparent change of mind on His part He was passing them, 
and of course they supposed that He purposed to do so. 
Perhaps we may say that He would have gone by, if they had 
not cried out : some expression of their need was required. He 
is ready to give help, but it must be asked for. How many 
blessings are lost, because men do not pray for them ! And 
here there was no definite prayer ; merely a cry of distress, and 
it sufficed. The disciples had faith to believe in Him, when 
He spoke. With 'Be of good cheer' comp. ix. 2, 22, and with 
'Fear not' comp. i. 20, x. 26, 28, 31, xvii. 7, xxviii. 5, 10. 

We have no means of knowing how the Evangelist became 
acquainted with the incident respecting Peter ; but it was prob- 
ably current among the circle of first Christians who had known 
Peter. Mt. evidently had a special interest in the Apostle whom 
he expressly calls 'first' of the Twelve (x. 2, comp. viii. 14, 
XV. 15, xvi. 16-23, XV"' *4> ^"» *^)' His *if it be Thou' 
indicates that Peter's doubts are not quite dispelled; but the 
Lord's ' Come ' is as sufficient for him, as His command to let 
down the nets on a previous occasion (Lk. v. 5). It was simply 
a question of faith, whether the disciple could do what the 
Master could do (xvii. 20, xxi. 21).^ But the boisterous weather 

I'Ayi&cVM cannot mean * I am /^ CArisi* (Mk. xiii. 6s Mt xziv. O. 
If Jesus revealed Himself as the Christ on this occasion, xvi. 17 could hardly 
have been spoken. 

' Salmon points out how the way in which Peter acts in Jn. xxi. confirms 
the namitive here. In both we seem to have the report of an eye-witness 
{ The Human Element^ p. 322). 

Jtl^. 28-31] TriE MINiStRY IN OR NEAR GALiLHIE id$ 

made him afraid, and fear shook his faith; yet not entirely. 
Even while he is sinking, he believes that Jesus can save him ; 
he has not lost all confidence, either in His power or in His 
readiness to save. Comp. viii. 25, 26. 

The. more we study this narrative respecting S. Peter, the 
more assured we may be that it cannot be invention ; and thus 
this addition which Mt makes to the miracle of Christ walking 
upon the sea increases our belief in the reality of that miracle. 
What is told us in these four verses (28-31) is so in harmony 
with Peter's character, is such an anticipation of his conduct a 
year later, and is so beautiful in itself as an illustration of Christ's 
way of dealing with His Apostles, that we may safely regard it 
as beyond the power of any early Christian to invent There is, 
on Peter's side, the combination (so strange and yet so natural) 
of confidence in the Master and confidence in himself. There 
is the usual impulsiveness (partly good and partly evil) to join 
the Lord at once and to be before the others in doing so. 
There is perhaps also the wish to do something dangerous, if not 
for its own sake, at least to prove his trust in Jesus. Yet he 
asks leave before acting. Then come, first fear, then a loss of 
trust, and then failure. Just a year later there was the same 
impulsiveness : ' I will lay down my life for Thee ' ; the same 
self-confidence in entering the palace of the high priest and 
warming himself at the public fire; and the same result of 
sinking before a blast of adverse criticism. On both occasions 
it was because trust in himself had taken the place of faith in 
Christ, that Christ's support was withdrawn, and he sank. But 
only for a time. In each case the greatness of the failure works 
its own cure,— on the lake, in a few seconds, at Jerusalem, in 
a few days. And Peter is not blamed for desiring to walk on 
the water to come to Christ, nor yet for professing a willingness 
to die for Him. It is not demonstrative affection that causes 
Christ to leave him to himself, that he may find out his own 
weakness. The affection was genuine, and forwardness in 
showing it would have been welcome, had it not been a sign of 
impetuosity rather than of depth. Neither he nor Mary Magda- 
len (Jn. XX. 15) was rebuked for undertaking what was beyond 
their strength ; love does not always stop to measure possibilities. 
But there was something of presumption in the eager approach 
of both of them ; and in his case there was forthwith a lack of 
trust. And it is for this that Peter was rebuked. ' O thou of 
little faith ' (not, Wherefore didst thou attempt to come ?, but) 
• Wherefore didst thou doubt ? ' 

But, seeing that the incident is so full of spiritual meaning, 
may it not all be a parable, constructed for the sake of the 
lessons which it conveys ? Possibly ; but constructed by whom ? 




If we could suppose that it had the same author as the Good 
Samaritan or the Prodigal Son, this theory of its origin would 
be credible. But such a supposition is not admissible. If the 
incident never took place, then it has been imagined by some 
early disciple ; and we know of no one who could imagine such 

When the Lord and Peter had entered the boat, *the wind 
(that had hindered the progress of the disciples and had shaken 
Peter's faith) ceased' Jn. gives a different accoimt ; as soon as 
the disciples were willing to receive Him into the boat, ' the boat 
was at the land whither they were going' (vi. 21). Mt, as often, 
spares the Twelve ; instead of Mk.*s * they were sore amazed, for 
they understood not concerning the loaves, but their heart was 
hardened,' Mt has 'they worshipped Him, saying. Of a truth 
Thou art God's Son' fAAi/^cJos ®€ov vtos cI). His use of his 
favourite verb 'worship' is again to be noticed, and also the 
expression * God's Son,' instead of * the Son of God ' (6 vVk tow 
0cov). They are sure that He is more than human ; but perhaps 
even yet they are not sure that He is the Messiah. The miracle 
of the loaves had impressed them less than it had impressed the 

In what follows, Mt abbreviates Mk. considerably, but he 
omits nothing of great importance. He seems to regard 
Gennesaret as a town rather than a district or plain. Josephus 
describes it (B,/, iii. x. 8). See DCG, L 640. It would seem 
as if the Lord's purpose was to teach, and especially to educate 
His disciples^ rather than to heal. He does not refuse to heal 
when the sick are brought to Him, but He does not seek them 
out They are allowed to touch His garments (ix. 20), when 
they beg to do so, and their faith is rewarded in all cases ; but it 
appears as if this was something forced upon Him, rather than 
an opportunity which He sought. It is as if He had other 
work to do, and yet was too full of compassion to let this pass.^ 

Characteristic expressions in ch. adv. : rpoa^pxecOai (12, 15), dpax^p^u' 
(13), iKetdtw (13), 4k€i (23), 6\iy^urro9 (31), icpttaKwuf (33). Peculiar: iw 
ixelptfi t( KQip^ (l), KaTa.worrl^€<r$tu (30 and xviii. 6 only), rpopifid^eiw 
(8 only). Some inferior texts (H L P) read wpotpipoffow for Kare^ipaffw in 
Acts xix. 33. Tht verb b used in Deut. vi. 7 of teaching beforehand, 
impressing on the memory ; comp. Exod. xxxv. 34. Only here and xxviiL 
17 does otffrd^ev occur in the N.T. In ver. 13 it is neither easy nor 
important to decide between we^ (B C D E etc) and ire^ol (K I L Z etc.) : 
the former occurs Mk. vi. 33, the latter nowhere else in the N.T. 

' Mt. again makes a change in the wording of Mk. in order to enhance 
the miracles. Mk. says that those who touched were being made whole 
{ifftSitovro). Mt says that they were made (there and then) thoroughly whole 
{iita^ticajf) ; and he inserts * only * before ' touch,' and / all ' before ' thai 
were sick. 


The insertion of Trdwras in ver. 3^ before roAs jrcucwf fyorrat (comp. Mk. 
vi. 55) is similar to that in viii. 10 (comp. Mk. i. 34) and that in xii. 15 
(comp. Mk. iii. 10). In each case the wish to emphasize the completeness of 
the Messiah's beneficence is conspicuous. What did the Jews mean when 
they contended that Jesus had never given a sign of His Messiahship? And 
Mt.'s insertion of fidvov in ver. 36 is similar to l^at in viii. 8 (comp. Lk. vii. 7) 
and that in ix. 21 (comp. Mk. v. 28). 

'• 1-00. Conflict with Pharisees and Scribes from 


Our Evangelbt continues to follow Mk. and to abbreviate 
considerably. Both tell us that the hierarchy at Jerusalem are 
on the alert, and that emissaries are sent to watch and question 
the now notorious Rabbi from Nazareth; but Mt. makes His 
rejoinder to their criticisms more pointed than Mk. does. They 
ask, 'Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the 
elders ? ' To which He replies with the question, * Why do ye 
also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of (not 
'by,' AV.) your tradition?* There is no question, and no *ye 
also' in Mk. Moreover, Mt changes 'For Moses said' into 
' For God said,' which makes the contrast with ' But ye say ' 
much stronger ; and he brings in the quotation from Isaiah at 
the close of the rebuke. 

Seldom has tradition had such power as among the Pharisees 
at the time of Christ The Talmud says that Moses received 
the oral Law at Sinai, and handed it on (through Joshua, the 
elders, and the Prophets) to the men of the Great Synagogue^ 
who enjoined three things: "Be deliberate in judgment; raise 
up many disciples ; and make a fence for the Law." This fence 
consisted of a vast number of precepts and prohibitions to 
supplement and protect the written Law. Some teachers went 
the length of maintaining that this oral or traditional Law was of 
greater authority than the written Law. The written Law had 
originally been oral, which showed that the oral Law had 
precedence. Hastings' Z?^., art. 'Law,' iii 66; DCG., art. 

It is not certain what was the exact practice which Christ 
condemned in the matter of C^r^a/i = * given to God' (5); 
whether it was a mere evasion by which the son pretended to 
dedicate his possessions by a vow to God, and thus escaped the 
duty of supporting his parents without actually surrendering his 
property ; or whether it was a real dedication, perhaps made in 
haste or in anger, but which the Scribes held to be binding 
(Wright, Synapsis^ p. 69). The latter alternative seems to agree 
better with * He shall not honour his father ' (Mt) and * Ye no 
longer suffer him to do aught for his father or his mother ' (Mk.). 


It a son, no matter how heedlessly or maliciously, had once 
uttered a vow that his property was dedicated to God, the Scribes 
maintained that at all costs the vow must stand: his parents 
must starve rather than his vow be left unfulfilled. Thus their 
tradition respecting the iirevocable character of a vow was 
preferred to the Fifth Commandment. See Driver on Deut 
xxiiL 24; Toy on Prov. xx. 25, xxviiL 24; Barton on Eccles. 
v. 4 ; in the Int Crit Comm, Josephus {B,J. 11. xv. i) describes 
the vow taken by Berenice, but it throws little light on Corban. 

The vow might have been kept without the parents being 
left to starve. A reasonable solution might have been that the 
Temple, in taking over the son's property, took over also his 
obligations to his parents; but the guardians of the treasury 
would probably have objected to that Christ does not contend 
that the tradition about washing before meals is worthless, but 
He intimates that the condemnation of the disciples' transgression 
was excessive, and that it came with ill grace from these Scribes. 
He, moreover, points out the danger of excessive devotion to 
traditions, which may lead to violation of the plainest moral 
obligations. Rigid scrupulosity about things of little moment 
may be accompanied with utterly unscrupulous conduct in 
matters that are vital. Hence the charge of hypocrisy. These 
Scribes professed to be jealous defenders of God's Law; but 
what they really cared about was their own traditions about the 
Law, and these were often foolish, if not positively immoral.^ 

We may suppose that the Scribes were unable to answer 
Christ (10) ; but, while He had been defending the disciples from 
their Pharisaical criticisms, a crowd had gathered. Having 
concluded His condemnation of the fault-finders, Jesus bids the 
multitude approach and listen to the practical outcome of the 
question which had been raised. The Pharisees held that it was 
necessary to wash the hands before a meal But why? Lest 
one had become ceremonially unclean, and this uncleanness 
should be communicated to the food, which would then make 
every one who partook of it unclean. ' But,' says Christ, ' there 
is no real defilement in that. Nothing that goes into a man 
from the outside can defile a man ; it is the things which proceed 
from him that may defile him.' ' 

The verses which follow (12, 13) are peculiar to Mt. It was 
inevitable that the Pharisees should be scandalized : if a man 
could not be defiled by the food which he ate, what became of 

' On the quotation in tw. 8» 9, which diflers from the LXX. in an 
exceptional manner, see Swete, JnL to the O, T, in Greek, p. 393. 

•Did neither S. Luke nor S. Paul know this saving? Lk. does not 
report it, and the Anostie makes no aUusion to it when he discusses the 
eating of meats offered to idols. 


the Mosaic prohibition of certain meats as being unclean ? Mk. 
(viL 19) remarks that, in saying this, Christ did make aU meats 
clean. Yes, He did, in the sense that He made all food morally 
indifferent : with ceremonial distinctions about food He did not 
interfere. But the Scribes were constantly guilty of the fatal 
mistake of confusing ceremonial and moral, and of making mere 
externals to be of the essence of religion. It was out of their 
uncharitable hearts that this attack on the disciples proceeded, 
and it implied that the omission of the usual ablutions was a 
grievous sin. Granted that the ablutions ought not to be left 
undone, charitable action ought certainly to be done. Those 
who could place ablutions before charity were not plants of the 
Divine plantmg, but weeds that would be rooted up.^ 

The saying about the blind guides (14) is not in Mk. and is 
given in Lk. (vi. 39) in quite a different connexion; comp. 
xxiiL 16, 24. The saying would seem to have been known to 
S. Paul (Rom. ii. 19), but perhaps as a proverb, rather than as 
an utterance of Christ. Sanday and Headlam quote as said by 
a Galilean peasant to R. Chasda, Baba Kama^ fol. 52^1 : "When 
the Shepherd is angiy with the sheep, He bUnds their leader/' 
which is analogous to Quos Deus vult perdere^ prius dementat by 
giving them bad rulers. There is a blindness which excuses 
Qn. ix. 41), but that was not the blindness of the Pharisees.' 

Mt. again shows his special interest in S. Peter by recording 
that it was he who asked for an explanation (15) : see on xiv. 28. 
As in the case of the Sower, Jesus is surprised that the disciples 
require an explanation;' but in each case He gives one. By 
substituting 'out of the mouth ' for 'out of the man,' Mt. makes 
the parable less easy of interpretation ; for the disciples would 
understand ' out of the mouth,' like ' into the mouth,' to refer to 
the food. And the substitution of ' mouth ' for ' man ' somewhat 
mars the interpretation, for murders, adulteries, and thefts can 
hardly be said to proceed from the mouth. Allen quotes a 
remarkable parallel from Edmunds, Buddhist and Christian 
Gospels^ p. 95: "Destroying life, killing, cutting, binding, 
stealing, spealung lies, fraud and deceptions, worthless reading, 
intercourse with another's wife — this is defilement, but not the 
eating of flesh." The inclusion of " worthless reading " is very 

^ This perhaps refers to the parable ot the Tares. The meaning may be 
that God planted the Commandments, and that the Pharisees sowed their 
noxious traditions among them. The writer of the Ascension of Isaiah (iv. 3) 
shows acquaintance with Mt zv. i j. 

' Note the pres. subj., ih^ 69ifYif, * if he be leading,' and comp. ▼. 33. 

' The adverbial accusative dx/ff/jp is found nowhere else in the N.T. or LXX. 
It is very rare in Attic. The meaning appears to be ' up to this point,' ' still ' ; 
Mk. has offrwf. Mk. nowhere uses rr6/ia, which is frequent in Mt. and Uc., 
but oocois only once in Jq. 


Striking. On ver. 20 Origen remarks that it is eating with un- 
washed heart that defiles the man, and he applies this specially 
to intellectual food. 

The contrast between the treatment of the involuntary dull- 
ness of the disciples, and the self-satisfied blindness of the 
Scribes is here very marked. The disciples were aware of their 
dullness, and asked to have it removed. The Scribes were con- 
fident that they had sight Qn. ix. 41), and were competent to 
censure all who differed from them ; it was a case of the mote 
and the beam. Jesus rebukes, but removes the dullness. The 
blindness is condemned, but, until it is confessed it cannot be 
removed; and there is little hope that it will be confessed. 
Those who claim to lead are not likely to admit that they are 
blind. Therefore on them is pronounced one of the sternest of 
Christ's judgments : * Let them alone.' 

Perhaps (with B D L Z) we ought in ver. 14 to omit rv^XOv and read 
Mifyo( tHjuf Tv^\olf 'they are blind guides.' In Lk. vL 39 the connexion 
seems to be that, before judging others, we ought to judge ourselves ; other- 
wise we shall be blind guides. The saying was protxiUy already a proverb, 
and may have been uttered by Christ more than onoe. The specially grievous 
thing about the blindness of the Pharisees was that it causea others also to 
fall into a pit. These others Christ was even willing to help, and hence His 
address to the people (10, 11). In the Testaments, the last of the seven 
spirits given to man at his creation is said to be *' filled with ignorance, and 
it louleth the young man as a blind man to a pit" {Reuben ii. 9). 

Mt. greatly abbreviates Mk.'s list of sins (comp. ver. 19 with Mk. vii. 21, 
22). He omits rXeoi^e^/ai, 96Xot, d<reX7c<a, 6^aX/idf ronj/>dr, 6re/ny0arfa, and 
d<pfyoff^ri — six out of thirteen. But he adds one, ^evSoftaprvplou, The 
reason for this is obvious. The sins in Mk. are in no particular order, but 
Mt. arranges them according to the decalogue: 'murders, adulteries, 
fornications, thefts ' represent 3ie sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments, 
and 'false witness' is added to represent the ninth. "This would greatly 
assist the learner who had a lesson to repeat" (Wright, p. 71). 

ZV. 91-49a The Great Faith of the Canaanitish Woman. 

The hostility of the religious leaders, as manifested in the 
censures of the emissaries from Jerusalem, causes Christ to 
move northward to the frontier of Galilee and beyond it^ The 
delegates of the hierarchy would not be likely to follow Him into 
heathen territory. He was perhaps also anxious to escape from 
the mistaken enthusiasm of the multitudes. One of the chief 
features of this last year of the Ministry is the instruction of the 
disciples, especially respecting His approaching Passion and 
Resurrection; and quiet, boti^ from insidious opposition and 
from noisy popularity, was required for this, but it could not 

1 Mk. vii 34 and Mt. xv. 91 can hardly mean less than that He croHcd 
tfie border. 


always be obtained. Mt., as in ver. is, omits Mk.'s vague state- 
ment that * He entered into a house,' and, as in xiii. 58, he omits 
that Christ was unable to do what He wished : ' He would have 
no man know it; and He could not be hid' (Mk. vii. 24). 

This woman (22) was a Greek-speaking descendant of the old 
inhabitants of Syrian Phcenicia. The Clementine Homilies call 
her Justa, and her daughter Bemice (ii. 19, iii. 73).^ The contrast 
between this incident and the narrative which immediately follows 
it is very great In the one case we have a solitary healing, 
obtained with apparent difficulty by the persistent clamour of the 
sufferer's mother ; in the other we have the healing and feeding 
of multitudes, who have only to place themselves before Him to 
find ready compassion and help. It is the difference between 
heathendom and Israel, between 'dogs' and 'children.' The 
whole is an object-lesson to the disciples of the prior claim of the 
Jews to His and their ministrations. The childen must first be 

The narrative in Mt is more dramatic than that of Mk. It 
moves from point to point, each marked by 'He answered.' 
The woman's first appeal He met by silence : ' He answered her 
not a word.' The disciples' appeal 'He answered' with the 
claims of 'the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' The woman's 
second appeal 'He answered' with the contrast between the 
diildren and the dogs. Her third appeal ' He answered ' with 
high praise and immediate granting of her request. Of these 
four appeals and answers, Mk. gives only the last two, and we 
are in ignorance as to the source of the other two. The wording 
of the two which Mt. has in common with Mk. differs so con- 
siderably from his that it is probable that he is using some .other 
authority than Mk.' This takes us back a long way, if each 
Evangelist is using an authority eariier than Mk., and if differences 
have already arisen between these two early sources. Mk.'s 
narrative seems to imply that the whole incident took place in a 
house. Mt's implies that, as Jesus and His company were on 
their way, the woman came and cried after them. Perhaps Mt. 
was unwilling to record that Jesus had entered a house in a 
heathen land. 

We have twice had the expression ' Son of David ' used in 

^ Josephus {Con, Apion, i. 13) says that these Phcenicians "bore the 
greatest ill-will " towards the Jews ; and this hostility helps to explain our 
Lord's attitude towards one of these hereditary foes of Israel. 

' Note Mk's imperfects (i^p<^a, Arycir), implying that more was said on 
both sides than is actually^ recorded. Mt. also has imperfects (fjcpa^eF, 
^/K^rovr, TooaeK&wfi) in what is peculiar to his narrative, although he so often 
turns Mk. s imperfects into aorists. And whereas he usu&Uy abbreviates, 
here he enlarges. This heathen woman, like the heathea centurion, has 9 
special interest lor biiDf 


addressing or speaking of Christ (ix. 27, xii. 23), but in both 
cases it is in the mouth of Jews. If Mt. is right in attributing it 
to this heathen woman, we must suppose that when she heard 
of Christ's miraculous powers she also heard something of His 
royal descent. There is nothing incredible in this ; indeed, she 
may have come in contact witib a disciple. Mk. does not re- 
present any one as addressing Jesus as the Son of David until 
near the close of the Ministry (x. 47, 48) ; and Mt may have 
thought that a heathen who in the end was accepted by Jesus 
must at least have recognized Him as the Messiah. 

Evidently the disciples' ' Send her away ' means ' Do what she 
asks and get rid of her.' Christ'l^ reply to them requires thb 
meaning ; He explains why He does not do what is asked. But 
there is more real compassion in His refusal than in their manner 
of supporting her request They care for themselves, not for her. 
He recalls His own charge to them when He sent them forth 
(x. 6) ; it is the lost sheep of the house of Israel that have the 
prior claim, and for the present they fully occupy Him and the 
Twelve. He must act in accordance with His Father's mission. 
It is through the Jews that the Kingdom is to be opened to the 
whole world. If they are neglected, the revelation will be 
stopped at its source. He must not begin a ministry of healing 
among the heathen, for this would absorb time and energy which 
is already too little for the work of winning and educating Jews 
to be missionaries to Jew and Gentile alike. Comp. Jn. x. 16--18, 
xi. 52, xii. 32, xvii. 20. 

The woman's next appeal is made with the 'shamelessness' 
(Lk. xi. 8) of the Friend at Midnight and the pertinacity of the 
Importunate Widow (Lk. xviii. 2-5). She makes it still more 
imploringly, and in describing her attitude Mt. uses his favourite 
* worshipped.' She does not repeat her trouble ; He knows this 
already ; she merely persists in her supplication : ' Lord, help 
me.' The third * He answered' is the most surprising of all, and 
we may feel sure that it could not have been invented. It is not 
merely a refusal, but a harsh refusal It repeats the reason for 
refusing which He had already given to the disciples, and repeats 
it in a way which seems to be intentionally offensive. But there 
are two things in the reply which mitigate the harshness, one of 
which is lost in Mt*s account. Mk. has : * Let the children ^rj/ 
be filled ; for it is not meet,' etc. This implies that later there 
will be food for those who are not children ; but Mt omits it, 
perhaps as seeming to be superfluous. The other mitigating item 
is that the word for * dogs ' is a diminutive, * doggies ' (jcwapia). 
Mt is not so fond of diminutives as Mk., and here (22) he changes 
Mk.'s Ovydrpufy to dvydrrjp. But he does not change the * doggies ' 
into *dogs.' Among various nations 'dog* is an opprobrious 


name for one of a different religion. This is specially common 
in the East, where large dogs act as scavengers in the dty, are 
generally fierce and noisy, and often diseased. 'Dog of an 
infidel,' * dog of a Jew,' * dog of a Christian.' But Christ's saying 
refers to domesticated animals, household pets and companions ; 
and the diminutive, which in late Greek often loses its force, is 
here very appropriate. 

The diminutive, while it makes Christ's refusal more gentle, 
gives the woman an opening, which she sees and uses. Love for 
her child sharpens her wit and strengthens her persistency. She 
does not claim to be one of the children, and has no thought of 
depriving them of their bread. She accepts the position of one 
of the family dogs. But such animals are members of the 
household, and they get what the children do not want With- 
out confusing the difference between Jews and heathen, and 
without depriving the Jews of anything that is theirs. He may 
grant her request. The metaphor which Christ had used as a 
reason for rejecting her petition she turns into a reason for 
granting it. And He joyfully (if we may venture to say so) 
allows Himself to be worsted in argument, for He at once 
accepts her interpretation of the metaphor as proof of her insight 
and faith.* With doglike perseverance, she had excelled even 
the children in trust, and assuredly she might receive what the 
children would never miss. Comp. Job xxiii. 4-6. 

The faith of this heathen Canaanite, like that of the heathen 
centurion (viii. 10), excites Christ's admiration. Both of them 
believed that Jesus could heal at a distance, and both of them 
trusted to His compassion to do so. But the woman's trust was 
more sorely tried, and she had not had the centurion's advantage 
of living among Jews and of being under the influence of the 
Jews' religion. These special commendations of the faith of a 
heathen woman and of a heathen man in the First Gospel should 
be compared with the special revelations of His Messiahship to a 
schismatical woman and an excommunicated man in the Fourth 
Gospel (iv. 26, ix, 37). 

In ' Yeft, Lord ; for even ' B and Syr-Sin. omit the ' for ' (which is 
wanting in the true text of Mk. vii. 28) : NeU, KUfM^ kuX rd xwdpia, instead 
of Kol yikp r& Kwdpia, The omission of the ydp considerably influences the 
meaning. If there is no ' for,' then the woman's reply may mean, * Quite so, 
Lord ; and the doggies under the table eat of the children's crumbs ' ; i,e. 

^ In Mk. it is the woman's ready wit (9(d roGror t^ \6yop) that is com- 
mended ; in Mt. , her fat^A. She had both. That her daughter was cured 
immediately, a detail which enhances the miracle, is in Mt. only. Comp. 
viii. 13, ix. 22, xvii. 18. In a similar way, when the disciples asked whj 
they could not cast out the demon from the epileptic boy, Mk. gives as the 
reply, ' This kind cannot go out save by prayer ^ (ix. 29), while Mt. has, 
' because of your little /a/M' (xvii. 90). 


' You Jui^e stated my position correctly ; I am only a do^ under the table ; 
in that case I may hope for the children's leavings.' But, if we read ical ydp 
with the immense preponderance c^ authorities, then ' Yea, Lord ' must refer, 
not to Christ's utterance, but to the woman's own request. ' Yea, help me, 
fcr You may do so without wronging the children.' In Mk. there is a 
Western reaaing (D and Old Lat.) dXXd koI instead of Kal ydp. This ties 
the * Yea ' to Christ's utterance, and xal is not ' and ' but ' even ' ; 'Just so ; 
dut even the dogs,' eta 

ZV. 29-89. Numerous Miracles of Heahng and the Fkedtng 

of Four TkousafuL 

Mt at once shows that the children did not suffer through 
the granting of a crust to a Canaanite. Mk. gives only one 
miracle before the feeding, that of the deaf stammerer being 
healed by touch, and spittle, and 'Ephphatha' uttered with a 
sigh. Mt omits this altogether, perhaps because he dislikes the 
means used ; for he prefers that Christ should heal with a word 
only (ix. 5, viii. 16). He also dislikes recording that Christ was 
sometimes flagrantly disobeyed, as Mk. (vii. 36) says that He 
was on this occasion. See Allen, p. 170. But Mt. may have 
substituted a group of miracles spontaneously wrought on Jews 
in Jewish territory for the Ephphatha miracle, in order to make 
a greater contrast to the one miracle, tardily wrought after much 
entreaty, on a heathen in heathen territory. The Messiah is 
once more among His own people and in His own domain,^ 
and works of healing are the natural outcome of His royal 
bounty and power. The people are amazed at His varied 
power,^ which is recognized as being for the exclusive benefit of 
the privileged nation; for 'they glorified the God of IsraeU 
*The God of Israel' is a rare expression in the N.T. (Lk. i, 68 ; 
Acts xiii. 17). In the O.T. it distinguishes Jehovah from the 
gods of other nations (Exod. v. i ; i Kings xi. 9) and is very 
frequent. These two verses (30, 31) are peculiar to Mt, but 
comp. Mk. vii. 37. 

It must remain doubtful whether the narrative of the feeding 
of 4000 people is merely a variant of the feeding of the 5000, or 
represents a different miracle. In favour of there being only 
one miraculous feeding are the similar details, the fact that 
numbers frequently get changed in tradition, and the improba- 
bility that the disciples would express a difficulty about feeding 
a multitude, when Jesus had fed a still larger one only a few 
weeks before. But, if there were two miraculous feedings, many 

^ The imperfect (^jcd^o) implies that He rested there some time, as 
feeling at home there. 

>The feict that Mt puts ' the dumb speaking '/Trf/ among the works which 
cvdted wonder shows that he knew the £phphatha incident 


of the details would be sure to be similar^ and the differences in 
the numbers occur not only as to the crowd, but as to the 
loaves and the baskets. Besides these differences, the attend- 
ance on Christ for ' three days ' is peculiar to the 4000, meaning 
that they had been with Him * since the day before yesterday ' ; 
so also is the diminutive tx^^^ ^<>^ ^^^ fishes, and it evidently 
means ^ small fishes' (RV.). Above all there is the different 
worcL for 'baskets.' AH four Evangelists use icd^tvot of the 
5000, and both Mt and Mk. use o-^v/xScs of the 4000; and 
Uiis distinction is observed in referring to the two miracles 
afterwards (xvi. 9, 10; Mk. viii. 19, 20). The ko^ivos was a 
wallet, the cnfivpCs a hamper, capable of holding a man (Acts ix. 
25). But S. Paul himself uses <rapydvrj of the basket in which 
he was let down (2 Cor. xi. 33), and we cannot be sure that a 
o-^vpts was generally lai^er than a ko^cvos. See Hastings' I^B, 
and DCG., art. ' Basket' 

As to the perplexity of the disciples, it must be noted that it 
is not they but our Lord who calls attention to the necessity for 
help ; and it is possible that both in His words and in their 
reply there is a reference to the earlier miracle. He says : * If I 
send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the 
way' (Mk.); 'I do not wish to send them away fasting, lest 
haply they faint in the way ' (Mt.). This may mean, * On the 
former occasion you asked Me to send them away (xiv. 15; 
Mk. VL 35 ; Lk. ix. 12); do not make a similar proposal now.' 
The disciples reply : ' Whence shall one be able to fill these men 
with bread here in a desert place?' (Mk.); 'Whence should 
we have so many loaves in a desert place, as to fill so great a 
multitude?' (Mt.). The pronoun (ri/uv) is emphatic, and the 
meaning may be, ' IVe cannot do it, but we know that Thou 
canst' See Swete on Mk. and the Wesiminster Commentary on 
Mt On the whole, it appears to be better to retain the tradition 
of two separate miracles. 

Both Mt and Mk. seem to place this second feeding on the 
east side of the lake, whence Christ and the disciples afterwards 
cross to the west side. Mk. says that in order to reach the lake 
from 'the borders of Tyre and Sidon' (vii. 24) Jesus passed 
' through the midst of the borders of Decapolis ' (vii. 31), which 
was on the east side. In this eastern part the majority of the 
population were Gentiles; and perhaps Mt is intimating that 
there were many Gentiles among the large multitudes who 
brought people to be healed (30), when he says that 'they 
glorified the God of Israeli '^ The wonder of the crowd at these 
mighty works would be greater on the east side of the lake, for 
the population there had had little experience of Christ's 


miracles. Mk. represents them as being astonished at a single 
miracle (vii. 37). Both Evangelists mention Christ's statement 
that the multitude ' continue with Me now three days and have 
nothing to eat/ Mk. with his single miracle gives no explanation 
as to why the people remained with Christ for three dajrs ; but 
the numerous healings mentioned by Mt are a complete ex- 
planation. Neither Gospel says anything about His teaching 
the people; the numbers of sick and infirm folk occupied all 
His time. The people of Decapolis had long since known of 
His fame (iv. 25, viiL 28-34), and both Jews and heathen 
would flock to the great Healer. We may notice how Mt once 
more insists, more than Mk. does, on the greatness of the 
mirade. Mk. has: 'they did eat and were filled . . • seven 
baskets . . . about four thousand.' Mt. has: ' they did ai/ eat 
and were filled . . . seven baskets y^// . . • four thousand men^ 
beside women and children.^ ^ 

Both as regards ' Magadan ' (39) and ' Dalmanatha' (Mk. viii. 10) there 
is uncertainty of reading. Here ' Magadan ' (M B D supported by Syrr. and 
Latt.) is the older reading ; but no such place is known, for which reason 
' Magdida' may have been substituted in later texts. ' Dalmanutha ' is also 
unknown ; ana, although it is the best attested reading, it is probably corrupt. 
'Magdalutha' may be the original reading in Mk. Unfamiliar names are 
specially liable to become changed inadvertently in oral tradition, and to be 
corrected by cop3rists. If ' Maedalutha ' were the original name, this might 
be corrupted into ' Dalmanutha* or corrected to the more fkmiliar ' Magdala ' ; 
this again might by accident be corrupted into ' Magadan,' and * Magadan ' 
be corrected once more to ' Magdala.' See Hastings' DB.^ art ' Magadan ' ; 
Efuyc» Bibl, 985, 1635, 2894 ; Dalman, Words^ p. 66. 

Chanurteristic expressions in ch. xv. : rbrt (i, 12, 28), vpoaipx*^^^ 
(I, 12, 23, 30), ^oKpvHfi (7), teitfeF (21, 29), dFaxw/>eiy (21), koX tdod (22), 
6pia (22, 39), ^d^ Aav€l9 (22), TpoaKvi^w (25), ytvu^Hfr^ (28), 6pa iK€lni(2&). 
Peculiar: 6 rar^p 6 oi^pdytos (13), }//€v8ofMLpTvpla (19 and xxvi. 59 only), 
ijcfif^w (16 only) ; none of these are found in the LXX. : ^vnla (13) occun in 
the LXX., but nowhere else in the N.T. 

Note that in ver. 32 Mt does not improve Mk.'s difficult 
construction, i^/Acpat rpcic vpoa-fUvovcrCv fioi kcu ovk l;(ovo'ir re 
^aywrw. No two writers would' independently express them- 
selves in this way, and it is not certain how we are intended 
to construe it. The reading ^/xcpav (e() is a manifest correc- 
tion. Perhaps the best way is to regard irpwr/Acvovo-tv and 
ixovaty as participles in the dat plur. with curtv understood; 
'they have three days in their waiting on Me and having 
no food.' D has vt*^P^ f ^^^^^ '^^ vpoa-fUvovaty fUH jcr.X., 
which again is a correction, and it differs from the correction in 
Mk. viii. 2. 

^ Comp: the insertion of Aproi ro^oOroi and 6>(Xor roo-oOiw in ver. 32. 

1-4] THE MiKlSTkV tU Ok NEAk GALILEE 221 

XVI. 1-lS. Renewed Conflict with the Pharisees. 

The appearance of Pharisees and Sadducees is conclusive 
against Magadan and Dalmanutha being on the east side of the 
lake, a semi-heathen territory into which they would not have 
cared to enter. The conjunction of Pharisees with their detested 
opponents, the Sadducees, is even more significant than their 
conjunction with Herodians (see on xii. 14) : a common enmity 
has united traditional foes.^ It was Scribes and Pharisees who 
on a previous occasion (xii. 38) asked for a sign. Lk. xL 16, 29, 
30 is less definite and in a different connexion, but in the main 
18 parallel with this and Mk. viii. 11-13. Mk. does not mention 
the Sadducees, and Lk. does not mention the Pharisees. The 
demand in all three is said to have been made with a sinister aim, 
'tempting Him,' and to have been for 'a sign from heaven.^ ^ 
This would mean a voice from the sky, or some of those signs 
which He Himself a little later said would precede the Coming 
of the Son of Man (xxiv. 29-31). The special point here is that 
Christ's healings were signs on earth and not decisive: comp. 
Lk. xxi. 1 1 ; Acts iL 19. They professed to wish to be convinced 
of His Messiahship; they hoped that He would be unable to 
give the required sign, and would thus be discredited with the 
people. Mk. says that in answering them ' He sighed deeply in 
His Spirit,' an indication of human emotion which Mt, as usual, 
omits: comp. xv. 29, 30 with Mk. vii. 33, 34. Mk. has no 
parallel to the words about the weather (2, 3). Lk. omits them 
also, but has a similar saying xiL 54-56. There, as here, the 
word for 'time' is not xf^vos^ but Kcupds, 'right time' or 
' season.' 

The saying cannot be genuine here, for it is absent from K B V X F and 
most MSB. known to Jerome, from Syr-Sin. Syr-Cur. Arm. and from Origen. 
No reason for omitting it is evident. But it must have been inserted here 
early (CDGL, Latt. Syr-Pesh. Boh.) and may preserve a tme saying of 
Christ's. See small print at the end of this chapter. 

In Christ's refusing any sign other than Jonah, the wording 
differs from Mk. and is exactly the same as in xiL 39, excepting 
that Jonah is not here called * the Prophet' By • He left them 
and departed ' Mt. and Mk. indicate that these Pharisees were 
incorrigible ; the Lord did not stay to amie further with them. 

But Mt. (5-12} and Mk. (viii. 14-21) differ as to the place 
in which what follows was spoken. Mk. represents the discovery 

^ Mt. alone couples Pharisees with Sadducees, and he does so six times. 
Mk. and Lk. mention the Sadducees only once, Jn. not at all. The Pharisees 
were influential with the people, the Sadducees with the upper classes: »/ 
ikcdt'e iurba in super stitioneni^ prudentes in (Ukcismum procliviorcs, 

> Mk. has ' from ' (drd), Mt. and Lk. have < out of '^ (itfjc) heaves. 


of the want of bread as being made during the crossing of the 
lake. Mt. places it after they had crossed, and apparently the 
forgetfulness was not exhibited till they had crossed. Again, 
they differ as to Christ's warning. In Mk. it is against 'the 
leaven of the Pharisees and the Haven of Herod? In Mt. it is 
against ' the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees? Mt tells 
us that this Meaven' meant 'doctrine' (12).^ That can hardly 
be the meaning in Mk., for Herod had no doctrine. Lk. tells 
us that the leaven of the Pharisees was * hypocrisy' (xii. i). We 
may suppose that our Lord's metaphor was, from the first, 
differently interpreted. In each case it meant an evil influence, 
whether by teaching or example. Both Mt. and Mk. state that 
Christ * became aware ' (yKovs) of His disciples' reasoning respect- 
ing their forgetfulness, and Mt again (viii. 26) inserts ' O ye of 
little faith ' as equivalent to the part of Christ's rebuke which he 
omits: ^have ye your heart hardened? Having eyes, see ye 
not? and having ears, hear ye not?' In omitting these severe 
words, which are similar to those in which He condemns the 
callous hearers (xiii. 13), and also in omitting the repeated rebuke 
(Mk. viii. 21), Mt. once more spares the Twelve. He does so 
again in mentioning (12), as Mk. does not, that at last the 
disciples did understand that Christ's warning about ' leaven ' was 
a parable, and had nothing to do with their being short of bread.* 
He was not telling them to treat the bread of Pharisees and 
Sadducees as if it was heathen bread, which would pollute them. 
But their spiritual blindness was not confined to this miscompre- 
hension. After the miraculous feeding of the multitudes, the 
Twelve ought to have had no anxiety about bread so long as He 
was with them. Comp. Oxyrhynchus Logia^ 3. 

The extraordinary dullness of the Twelve, which seems to 
have surprised Christ Himself (*Do ye not yet perceive? . , . 
How is it that ye do not perceive?') shows how slowly the 
education of even the most intimate disciples was progressing. 
It shows also how natural it was that Christ should desire to be 
freed from both the persecution of His enemies and the pursuit 
of the multitudes clamouring to be healed. He had made one 
excursion to the north, into the parts of Tyre and Sidon, with a 
view to obtaining more quiet and freedom for the training of the 
Twelve; but the great &ith and persistent entreaty of the 
Canaanitish woman had obtained from Him a work of healing 
which, as soon as it became known, would have produced a 

' The doctrine of the Sadducees was very diflTerent from that of the 
Pharisees, and yet there is no repetition of 'the leaven.* The wording in 
Mk. is more likely to be original. 

' Mt. has a similar statement, not found in the other Gospels, x\ni. 13. 
Here he smooths Mk.'s unusual construction, < I broke the 5 loaves unto [<di) 
the 5000,' into * the 5 loaves of^t 5000.* 


crowd of similar applicants, had He remained in the neighbour- 
hood. He had returned to the less populous side of the lake 
of Gennesaret, and there again He had been interrupted. For 
three days He could do nothing but heal. He crossed to the 
west shore, and there His enemies again assailed Him. By 
crossing once more He avoids being followed; and now He 
again leaves the lake and moves northward, not as before to the 
heathen territory of the Phoenician sea-coast, but to the northern 
extremity of Palestine by the sources of the Jordan near the foot 
of Mount Hermon; and at last He and His disciples are in 
retirement for a while. 

ZVZ. IS-aa. Tk^ Confession of Peter and the 

Promise to Peter, 

We are not told where our Lord and the Twelve landed, but 
it was probably on the east side of the mouth of the Jordan, for 
immediately afterwards Mk. narrates the healing of a blind man 
at Bethsaida Julias (viii. 22-26). Mt. omits this cure, as he 
omits that of the deaf stammerer (Mk. vii. 32-35), possibly 
because of the means used, and because in this case the cure 
was at first incomplete. Mt prefers miracles in which the 
Messiah heals instantly with a word. The two miracles thus 
omitted by Mt. are recorded by Mk. alone, and they have 
common characteristics. In both our Lord uses spittle and 
touch, in order to aid the man's faith. Both miracles were 
wrought when Christ was seeking retirement,^ and in both cases 
He takes the man aside from the people, and the cure is 
wrought privately, so as to avoid notoriety and subsequent inter- 
ruption. See Gould, pp. 138, 149-151. In moving north, 
places where He had previously been seem to have been avoided. 
The distance from the lake to Csssarea Philippi is about 
25 miles, and involves an ascent of 1700 feet. The population 
would be mainly Gentile, and it is manifest that Jesus was not 
seeking a field for preaching, but a quiet opportunity for private 
instruction of the Apostles, especially with a view to His 
approaching sufferings and death. 

Peter's great confession is in all three Gospels, for Lk. now 
once more comes into line ; but the promise to Peter is in Mt 
alone, who here again shows his special interest in the first of the 

' He was probably seeking seclusion in preparation for His Passion and 
Death. But He seems also to have been avoiding His foes, because His 
hour was not yet come. '* The parts that are avoided are the dominions of 
Antipas " (Burkitt, The Gospel History and its Transmission ^ p. 93). The 
indications of locality in this and subsequent sections should be noted : 
Caesarea Philippi (xvi. 13) ; Galilee (xvii. 22, 24) ; the borders of Judsea 
beyond Jordan (xix, i) ; on the way to Jerusalem (xx. 17). 


Apostles. Mt. probably regarded Peter's confession and its 
reward as a contrast to the Pharisees' demand for a sign and 
Christ's stem refusal. The one was as strong a mark of belief 
as the other of unbelief, and the wish to place the two side by 
side may have had something to do with Mt's omission of the 
healing of the blind man. 

In Lk. the definiteness of locality is blurred,^ but both Mt. 
and Mk. take us to the ' parts ' or ' villages ' of Csesarea Philippic 
and the mention of a place so far away from Christ's ususd 
centres of work is a strong authenticating fact. No baseless 
tradition or deliberate invention would have placed the scene of 
what follows in so distant a region. Since the attempt to make 
Him king, Jesus has been changing His method from one of 
public teaching, and public activity in works of mercy, to a more 
secluded course of instruction concentrated on the Twelve. The 
incident at Csesarea Philippi marks a crisis in the new method, 
but only a preparatory one. The leading thought in the training 
of the Apostles is not Peter's confession that Jesus is the Messiah, 
nor Christ's promise of the keys to him, but Christ's prediction 
of the death which awaits Himself and of His subsequent 
triumph over death. 

It was at the northern extremity of the tetrarchy of Philip^ 
close to the frontier which separated Judaism from heathendom, 
and where the Gentile was ab-eady more common than the Jew, 
that Jesus questioned the Twelve as to what men thought of 
Him and what their own convictions were.^ As Bethsaida had 
been renamed Julias after the infamous and only child of 
Augustus, so Paneas had been renamed Caesarea after Augustus 
himself. The name Paneas came from the grotto of Pan, which 
represented the elemental worship of the old inhabitants, close 
to which Herod the Great had built a temple in honour of the 
Emperor Qos. Ant xv. x. 3 ; B,J» i. xxi. 3) ; and this represented 
the most modem of heathen cults. Thus, just where Judaism 
touched both the worship of nature and the worship of man, 
Jesus called upon His disciples to answer for mankind and for 
themselves as to what His claims upon the conscience were as 
against the claims of these conflicting worships. See Liddon, 
Bampton Lectures^ i. sub init] Stanley, Sinai and Palestine^ 
p. 397 ; DCG. i. 246. 

The wording of the first question varies in the three Gospels, 
and in Mt. the reading is not quite certain. Mk. has : " Who 

^ Lk. substitutes another important fact, that it was fusi after He had 
been praying ohm that He put these questions to the disciples and then 
revealed to them the approach of His Passion. As He had prayed before He 
chose them, so He prayed before subjecting them to this trial (Lk. vi. 12, ix. 
18). To Lk. the prayer might seem more important than the place. 

* The imperfect (13) implies repeated questioning. 


do men say that I am ? ' Lk. has : " Who do the multitudes say 
that I am ? ' Mt has either : ' Who do men. say that the Son of 
Man is ? ' (KB and most versions), or : " Who do men say that 
I, the Son of Man, am ? ' (D G L etc). The latter reading is not 
likely to be right, for nowhere in the Synoptic Gospels does * Son 
of Man ' occur in apposition to the personal pronoun. It seems 
probable that the expression * Son of Man ' was not used on this 
occasion, but that Mt. put it instead of the 'I' in Mk., in order 
to make an antithesis between 'men' and 'the Son of Man.' 
See Dalman, Words, pp. 252, 259. Perhaps also Mt. wished to 
anticipate by contrast Peter's declaration that He was ' the Son 
of God '(16). 

It is possible that this first question was educational in order 
to lead on to the crucial question which follows. But it is also 
possible that our Lord was asking for information. His disciples 
would hear what was said of Him much more often than He 
Himself did, and they would not be Ukely to repeat to Him 
views about Himself which they regarded as inadequate or 
absurd. This was a case in which He could obtain the informa- 
tion in the ordinary way by asking for it, and therefore would 
not use supernatural means of knowing. 

That the people said He was Jeremiah is stated by Mt. 
alone. Jeremiah, though not much esteemed during his life, 
came to be regarded as one of the greatest of Prophets. He 
was spoken of as *the Prophet,' and may be *the Prophet* of 
Jn. i. 21.^ Judas Maccabaeus, before his battle with Nicanor, 
sees in a vision a man ' of exceeding glory, and wonderful and 
most majestic was the dignity around him,' and this was 'he 
who prayeth much for the people and the holy city, Jeremiah 
the Prophet of God' (2 Mac xv. 13, 14). And Jeremiah gives 
him a sword of gold, wherewith to smite down the adversaries. 
Comp. 'Fear not, saith the Lord. For thy help will I send 
My servants Isaiah and Jeremiah' (2 Esdr. ii. 17, 18). 
Evidently there was a belief that Jeremiah was to come again. 
See Plumptre in Smith's £>£,, ist ed., L p. 971; Streane, 
Jeremiah in Camb. Bible, Appendix. 

The second question is identical in all three Gospels : ' But 
ye, who say ye that I am ? ' There is strong emphasis on the 
first ' ye,' as meaning those who had been His intimate disciples 
and knew Him so much better than the outside crowd. Had 
they no better or more certain ideas respecting Him than these 
wild and fluctuating guesses? ' Have I been so long time with 

^ In Hebrew tradition and in many Hebrew MSS. the order of the great 
Prophets is Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah (Ryle, Canon of the O, T, p. 226). 
Mt. is the only N.T. writer who mentions Jeremiah (ii. 17, zri. 14, 
zxvii. 9), once by mistake. 



you, and dost thou not know Me?' (Jn. xiv. 9). Here again 
Christ may be asking for information. He could read their 
hearts, but He prefers to learn their convictions from their own 
mouth. The joy with which He welcomes Peter's answer is to 
be noted. While the rest of His hearers had ceased to think of 
Him as the Messiah, the Twelve were strengthened in their 
belief that He was the Christ. This was the crisis. 

The wording of the answer differs in each Gospel. ' Thou 
art the Christ' (Mk.). 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the 
Uving God' (Mt).^ 'The Christ of God' (Lk.). Mt expands 
Pete?s momentous answer, as he expands Christ's first question, 
and the two expansions correspond. ' I ' is expanded into ' the 
Son of Man ' in the one case, and ' the Christ ' into ' the Son of 
the living God' in the other. But there is no difference in 
meaning between the three reports of the reply ; and in all it 
is the impulsive Peter who gives it as the belief of all the Twelve. 
See Dalman, Words, p. 288. 

It was not the first time that Peter had expressed this belief. 
He had accepted it when his brother Andrew said to him, ' We 
have found the Messiah'; and Philip had repeated this con- 
viction to Nathanael (Jn. L 41, 45). Peter himself had more 
recently declared : * We have believed and know that Thou art 
the Holy One of God' Qn. vi. 69). In the first instance he 
did no more than assent to the belief that Jesus would prove 
to be the Messiah for whom all were longing. Months of living 
with Jesus, listening to His teaching and seeing His mighty 
works, and then consciousness of the power, derived from Him, 
of doing mighty works himself, had enlarged his knowledge of 
Him and deepened his love for Him, although He was not 
proving to be the kind of Messiah that they had expected. 
Finally, the feeding of the multitudes and the walking on the 
sea — miracles of a different kind from the numerous works of 
healing — had strengthened still further the early impression and 
the later conviction. Jesus might shun popular enthusiasm and 
refuse to be made a king, but Peter knew that he could say 
from the bottom of his heart, for himself and for them all, 
' Thou art the Christ' Even now, however, Peter's conception 
of the Christ is very defective, as what follows proves. The 
truth was to be gradually learned by the Twelve, by further 
teaching from Christ, by strange experiences of their own, and 
above all by the gift of the Holy Spirit who was to * lead them 
into all the truth.' 

Mt here inserts a passage (17-19) which is peculiar to this 
Gospel, and which has provoked volumes of controversy. 
Perhaps it will always continue to be discussed, but those who 

^ D has ffi&^currof {salva/oris) instead of jlitfi'rM. 


endeavour to detennine its meaning can at least resolve not to 
be influenced by the use which a controversialist may make of 
the conclusion which they eventually reach. Like the other 
passages in which S. Peter is conspicuous (xiv. 28-31, xv. 15), 
it probably belongs to traditions which were current in the 
Church of Jerusalem. But it is possible that there is an 
element, especially as regards the arrangement of the clauses, 
which comes from the Evangelist himself. Perhaps not all of 
the sayings here attributed to Christ were uttered on this 
occasion; and it is possible that what may have been uttered 
oy Him in a different connexion has not only been transferred 
to this occasion by the Evangelist, but has been expanded by 
him. Where we have the other Gospels to compare with his 
we can see that Mt has expanded Christ's first question by 
adding 'the Son of Man,' and the disciples' answer by adding 
' Jeremiah,' and Peter's answer to the second question by adding 
' the Son of the living God.' Here we have no other report to 
compare with his, and we are left to conjecture what is possible 
or probable. That the whole of w. 17-19 is an invention is 
utterly improbable. Christ's joyous response to Peter's con- 
fession bears the stamp of originality in every phrase ; and it is 
so entirely in harmony with the context that we may feel 
confident that it was spoken on this occasion. The other two 
verses (18, 19) may have been spoken at some other time or 
times, and the saying about ' binding ' and ' loosing ' may be 
Mt's enlargement of the saying about 'the keys.' Moreover, 
both these verses may have been spoken in reference to the 
Twelve,^ and Mt (or the tradition which he is quoting) may 
have adopted the sayings with special reference to S. Peter, 
thinking that, as he made the first glorious confession, so these 
glorious promises, in the first instance, were made to him. See 
Allen's careful notes, pp. 176-180; Salmon, The Human 
Element^ p. 351. 

The comment of Origen {On Mt,^ Bk. ai § 11) runs thus : "Bat if you 
suppose that upon that one Peter only the whole Chuich is huilt hy God, 
wnat would you say about John» the son of thunder, or each one of the 
Apostles? Shall we dare to say that against Peter in particular the gates of 
Efades shall not prerail, but that they shall prerail a^dnst the other 
Apostles? Does not the previous saying, 'The gates of Hades shall not 
prevail against it,' hold in regard to all and in the case of each of them ? And 
also the saying, ' Upon this rock I will build My Church ' ? Are the keys 
<A the Kingdom given by the Lord to Peter only, and will no other of the 
blessed receive them ? 6ut if this promise, ' I will give unto thee the keys 
of tiie Kingdom of Heaven' be common to all the others, how shall not all 

^ The saying about binding and loosing was afterwards made to the 
Twelve (xviiL 18), and may have been transferred to S. Peter in par- 


the things previously spoken of, and the things which are subjoined as 
having l^en addresseid to Peter, be common to them?" 

In a later passage (Bk. xiiL § 31) Origen reserves a superiority for Peter 
by pointing out tlui^ while what the Apostles bind and loose on earth is 
bound ana loosed 'in heaven' {i9 odpoptf, xviii. 18), what Peter binds and 
looses on earth is bound and loosed ' in the heavens ' {4w rots odpawdit, xvi. 
19) ; " for it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one 
heaven but of more." It is not likely that there was any difference in the 
words used by Christ 

But, whatever may be the origin of the passage, we must 
endeavour to explain it as it has come down to us with the 
authority of the First Gospel 

Nowhere else does Christ call an individual 'blessed': 
'blessed art tAou* (17). It would almost seem as if He had 
asked His searching question with some anxiety, and as if S. 
Peter's immediate and decisive reply was a joy that contained 
in it something of relief. Christ's question here is somewhat 
similar to the earlier and perhaps more wistful question, ' Will 
ye also go away?' Here die full address, giving Peter's origmal 
name with that of his father, 'Simon Bar-Jonah,' adds solemnity 
to the utterance (comp. Jn. xxi. 15-17); and the Lord 
emphatically declares that this confession of faith in His 
Messiahship is not the outcome of human instruction, but must 
be a revelation from God Himself. This is the first step ; the 
Father has revealed to the Apostle that Jesus is the Messiah.^ 

The next step is taken by. the Messiah Himself. He also 
makes a revelation : 'And I also say to thee' (jcdya» Si<roi Xcyo)). 
This revelation is not respecting His own person, but 
respecting His future work and the relation of the Apostle to 
it (18). The Messiah is going to build His Church, a new 
Israel, for which Peter is to supply the foundation. It is quite 
clear that here Christ Himself is not the foundation-rock or 
foundation-stone. He is the Builder of the edifice, determining 
when, where, and how it shall be raised. He is the source of 
all activity in framing the building. No stress whatever can 
be laid on the change of gender in the Greek: 'Thou art 
Peter (ncTpo«), and on this rock (ircrpa) will I build My Church.' 
Our Lord would speak in Aramaic, as 'Bar- Jonah' tends to 
show; and in Aramaic CepAa would be used in both places. 
In Greek it was impossible to have virpa in both cases, because 
Peter was a man, and his name must have a masculine termina- 
tion. And virpoi would not do in both places, because the 

1 Already we have three expressions which point to the Jewish centre in 
which this tradition has been preserved: 'Simon Bar- Jonah/ 'flesh and 
blood/ and 'My Father which is in heaven.' Others of a similar kind 
follow: 'gates of Hades,' 'the keys,' 'the Kingdom of the Heavens,' and 
'binding and loosing.' Perhaps even iKKKnaUk is more Jewish than 
Christian, and means the new IsraeL 


meaning 'rock ' was required rather than 'stone.' Cepha means 
either * rock ' or ' stone.' 

The fact that Christ Himself is elsewhere, by a difTerent 
metaphor, called the 'comer-stone' (Eph. ii 20; z Pet. ii. 4-8), 
must not lead us to deny that Peter is here the foundation-rode 
or stone. In Eph. ii. 20 the Apostles and Christian Prophets 
are the foundation (^e/mAios), as Peter is said to be here. The 
first ten chapters of Acts show us in what sense Peter was the 
foundation on which the first stones of the Christian Israel were 
laid. He was the acknowledged Head of the Apostolic body, 
and he took the lead in admitting both Jews and Gentiles into 
the Christian Church. "All attempts to explain the 'rock' 
in any other way than as referring to Peter have ignomini- 
ously failed" (Briggs, North Amer. Rev,^ Feb. 1907, p. 348). 
Neither the confession of Peter nor the faith of Peter is an 
adequate explanation. But at the same time it is dear that 
the promise is made to Peter cls confessing his faith^ and also as 
confessing it on behalf of the Twelve^ The Baptist himself 
had had his misgivings about the Messiah. Other disciples 
had 'gone back and walked no more with Him' Qn. vi 66). 
But here was one who, in spite of his Master's being so unlike 
the Jewish idea of the Messiah, had enthusiastically recognized 
Him as the Christ, and had acknowledged Him as such on 
behalf of himself and his brother-Apostles. Such a Confessor 
might well be r^arded as a foundation. Others confessing the 
same faith would be added (Rev. xxL 14), and on these the 
superstructure would be raised; but Peter was the first. It is 
with him that the erection of the Christian Church begins. 
See Chase in Hastings' DB, iiL p. 759; Hort, The Christian 
Ecclesiay pp. 16, 17; Lightfoot, Clement^ ii. pp. 481 -- 490; 
J. Arm. Robinson, Ephesians^ pp. 68, 69, 163; Sanday, Outlines^ 
p. 125; B. Weiss, Life of Christy iii. p. 58. Only here and 
xviii. 17 does the word 'Chiurch' (€K#cXi;o-ia) occur in the 
Gospels; elsewhere in the N.T. it is very frequent. It means 
a body of men, united by common convictions and aims. 
See Hastings' DB. and DCG,^ art 'Church.' In this organic 
body, considered imder the figure of a building, nothing must 
be attributed to S. Peter or to the Twelve whidb would contra- 
dict I Cor. iiL II. 

In the second part of the saying (18) it may be doubted 
whether the rendering, 'the gates of Hades shall not prevail 
against it' gives the exact meaning. Evidently, in contrast to 

^ If the promise had been absolutely personal and individoal, we should 
have had ixl o-oc rather than iwl rwni ri rirp^ (which seems to mean 'on 
die sureness of thy fiuthiul heart, to which thy name bears witness,' father 
than ' on thee '). 


the Church as a temple built on a rock, Hades or Death 
is thought of as a fortress with strong gates. The common 
rendering implies that there will be conflicts between the two, 
and that whenever they occur, the Church will always in the 
end prevail However true this may be, it b not a probable 
meaning of the passage. If aggressiveness were the prominent 
idea, we should hardly have the metaphor of a building with 
gates. Gates keep people in and keep people out, and are 
necessary for the strength of a citadel, but they do not fight 
Here the leading thought is the strength and stability of the 
Church, not its aggressiveness. Death is often regarded as 
one of the strongest of powers ; as, ' Love is as strong as death ' 
{Cant. viiL 6). And here the Church is said to be still stronger 
than death; not even the gates of Hades shall surpass it in 
strength. Comp. Ps. ix. 13, evil 18; Job xxxviii. 17; 
Is. xxxviii. 10; also Hom. 77. v. 646. On the picturesque 
rendering in some Syriac texts, 'the gate-bars of Sheol,' see 
Burkitt, Evan. donMepharreshe, ii. pp. 119, 156. 

The metaphor abruptly changes (19), but there is clear 
connexion between the one and the other. The figure of two 
buildings, one of which has strong gates, suggests the idea of 
keys. In the O.T. we often have the 'gates of Hades' or 
'gates of death' (Ps. ix. 13, cvii. 18; Job xxxviii. 17; 3 Mac v. 
51 ; Wisd. xvi. 13), and in Revelation the risen Lord has 'the 
keys of Death and of Hades' (i. 18), i,e. He is supreme over 
their citadel, and can admit or release whom He will (iii. 7). 
And if the kingdom of death can be likened to a citadel with 
gates, so also can the Kingdom of Heaven. And here again 
we have a prerogative which might seem to belong to the 
Messiah conferred upon the Apostle. S. Peter was the rock 
on which Christ builds His Chtux:h ; and now he is the steward 
to whom Christ entrusts the keys of the Kingdom: comp. 
Is. xxiL 22. The precise relation of the Church to the Kingdom 
is not easy to determine ; but they are not the same. In this 
Gospel, the Kingdom seems always to mean that which the 
Son of Man is to begin at the Second Advent, which is regarded 
as near. In that case, the Church carries on the work of the 
Forerunner and proclaims that the Kingdom is at hand. In 
this Kingdom the Apostles are to 'sit on twelve thrones, 
judging the twelve tribes of Israel' (xix. 28), but of those 
thrones that of S. Peter is to be first He has been first in 
the confession of the true faith, and he is to be first in holding 
authority in the Kingdom. It is possible that 'the keys' 
have special reference to S. Peter's function in admitting so 
many of the first converts to the Christian Church, but this 
would be only preliminary to admission to the Kingdom. 


S. Peter is not only the rock to support the Church, and 
the steward to hold the keys of the Kingdom, he is also the 
teacher who can give an au^oritative decision. The metaphor 
of ' binding ' and ' loosing ' does not here refer to the forgiveness 
of sins. The two words are technical expressions, the meaning 
of which was well understood.^ To * bind ' is to forbid, to 
Moose' is to permit Just as a Rabbi of great knowledge 
would decide what, according to the provisions of the oral 
Law, was allowed or prohibited, so Peter would decide what, 
according to the teaching of Christ, was permitted or not. In 
this authority the other Apostles were to share (xviii. 18), but 
Peter once more comes first It is important to notice that it 
is 'whaisoevQi thou shalt bind,' not * whomsoever thou shalt 
bind ' ; and the addition of ' on earth ' and ' in heaven ' perhaps 
means no more than that the decision has authori^. See 
Dalman, Words^ p. 213, for a different view. But, in any case, 
the meaning of Jn. xx. 23 must not be read into this passage, 
as has often been done from Cyprian onwards.^ Nor can we 
assume that what Peter decides for the visible Church is binding 
on the Church invisible ; or that what he decides for the visible 
Church of his day holds good for ever, however much the 
conditions may change; or that his power of prohibiting and 
permitting has passed to his successors. 

XVI. dO-d8. Announcement of the Passion and the Rebuke 

to Peter, 

We now return (20) to what is in all three Gospels. All 
three mention that Jesus charged the Twelve not to tell any 
one that He was the Christ; but Mt alone, as in t^. 12 and 24, 
has his favourite 'Then' (tc^tc). The charge is a strong 
guarantee for the historical character. It is thoroughly intellig- 
ible; but, at the same time, a writer of fiction would hardly 
have thought that Jesus, after exhibiting such joy when Peter 
confessed that the Twelve believed in Him as the Messiah, 
would insist upon secrecy. The reason for the command to 
keep silence was the erroneous idea about the Messiah which 
prevailed among the people. They might again try to make 
Him a king, and thus might precipitate a collision with the 
Roman government As yet, even the Twelve knew too little 
about the Messiahship to be able to talk about it with profit 

^ Comp. zviii. 18. Like ' the Kingdom of the Heavens,' they ture 
thoroughly Jewish expressions, and are found only in Mt. among the 

^ De Eccles. Unit, 4, with the fiunous interpolations. See also Ep, 
Izxv. 16 (Firmllian to Cyprian). Taim remarks that this is one of the most 
frequently misunderstood passages in Mt. 


to the multitude. And so we are told that 'from that time 
Jesus degan to show unto His disciples,' or ^ began to teach 
them' (Mk.), that the Messiah must suffer bdfore entering 
upon His Kingdom. The 'began' is important We have 
here a summary of what went on for some time, and neither 
Mt. nor Mk. tell us at what point Peter drew upon himself 
Christ's terrible rebuke. It is commonly assumed that, the 
very first time that our Lord foretold Hb sufferings and death, 
Peter uttered an emphatic protest, and then ' Get thee behind 
Me, Satan,' was uttered. The Gospels neither say nor imply 
this (Lk. is silent about the whole incident) ; nor is it probable 
in itself. Had the impulsive Peter been surprised into making 
his characteristic protest, he would perhaps have been less 
severely rebuked. The rebuke is much more intelligible, if we 
suppose that Peter had had plenty of time to think over this 
new and amazing teaching respecting the Messiah, and had 
deliberately tried to turn Jesus from His purpose. Mk. tells 
us that Jesus 'used to speak the saying (about the Passion) 
without reserve ' to all the Twelve (jrapprfo-Lijf, roy Xoyov iXoXci). 
Peter thinks this a great mistake. With something of officious- 
ness, and perhaps as if his age gave him some kind of authority 
even over the Master, he ' took Him ' as if to save Him from 
Himself (^rpoo-XaySo/tcvos), and began to rebuke Him.^ 

' Be it far from Thee, Lord,' or ' God be gracious to Thee, 
Lord,' means ' Heaven grant Thee something much better than 
that,' or ' Heaven forbid that ' : comp. 2 Sam. xx. 20, xxiiL 1 7. 
What follows is very strongly put: 'This shall never be unto 
Thee.' ^ Mk. gives no words. Something may have been pre- 
served by tradition ; but perhaps Mt. is merely putting Peter's 
rebuke into words. Yet, while he is more full than Mk. about 
Peter's protest, he is less full about the Lord's turning to reply. 
Mt omits ' and seeing His disciples He rebuked.' The ' seeing 
His disciples ' seems to imply that Peter was again expressing 
the convictions of the Twelve, and that for the sake of the 
whole body a strong condemnation of this mistaken view re- 
specting His sufferings and death must be uttered. The 'first' 
(x. 2) of the Apostles had grievously abused his position in 
rebuking his Master, and all of them must hear how the rebuke 
was reproved. 

'Thou art a stumbling-block to Me' is not in Mk., and is 

^ The Sinaitic Syriac has ' as though he pitied Him,' or * as if to spare 
Him/ which perhaps implies that Peter took Jesus aside from the otners 
before remonstrating with Him. The Arabic Tatian has eompaiiens. 

' According to the popular view of the Messiah (which Peter shared), 
rejection and death, so far from being necessary for the Messiah, were 
absolutely impossible ; He vras to be welcomed as the Saviour of Hb people, 
and was to reign over them. 


perhaps Mt.'s interpretation of the startling identification of 
Peter with the evil one; but, even without this addition, *Get 
thee behind Me, Satan,' is indeed severe. It recalls the dismissal 
of the devil at the close of the temptations in the wilderness 
(iv. 10); and it recalls it, because Peter has renewed those 
temptations. Those assaults of the evil one largely consisted 
in trying to induce Jesus to take a short and easy road to the 
Messiah's throne ; to obtain the power and glory without trouble 
or suffering. Peter is again trying to induce the Messiah to 
evade rejection by the hierarchy^ and an ignominious death. 
This conduct shows how necessary was the charge that the 
Apostles should be silent respecting the Messiahship of Jesus. 
If the first of the Apostles could commit so disastrous an error 
as was involved in his rebuke to Christ, what might not the 
ignorant multitude do? Comp. xiL 16, xvii. 9 ; and see Sanday, 
Jour, of Th, Sf.f April 1904, p. 321. 

Origen (On Mt,^ Bk. xii. §§ 21, 22) regards *Get thee behind 
Me ' (viray€ ^it/o-q) fiou) as a gentle rebuke to Peter's ignorance. 
Peter meant well, but he made a grave mistake. He ought to 
have known that He whom he had recognized as * the Son of 
the living God' (16) can neither say nor do what merits rebuke, 
and that it was presumptuous of one of His followers to rebuke 
Him. Peter had been attempting to lead, and to lead his Leader. 
' Get thee behind Me ' means that Peter is to go back to his posi- 
tion as a follower. In support of this Origen quotes : ' Come ye 
behind Me (^7rura> fiov), and I will make you fishers of men' 
(iv. 19); and 'He that doth not take up his cross and follow 
behind Me (pirUno /aov), is not worthy of Me ' (x. 38) ; and he 
compares ^ropcvco-^c &irUna avrov (i Kings xviii. 21). He also 
remarks that at the Temptation, when the evil one is dismissed, 
there is no 'behind Me.'* The devil cannot become Christ's 

This explanation is rendered improbable by the viraye, and 
is excluded by the Sarava. Had our Lord meant that Peter 
was to resume his place as a disciple, He would have said 
'Come' (Swpo) rather than 'Go' (wraye); and in urging any 
one to follow Him He would not call him ' Satan.' 

But we have not fully explained either Christ's charge to the 
Twelve to be silent or the severity of His rebuke to Peter, when 
we have shown that Peter's grievous mistake (which was perhaps 

* The unusual order, 'elders, chief priests, and scribes' is in Mk., and 
is preserved by both Mt and Lk. But Mt. and Lk. correct Mk.'s 'after 
three days' to 'on the third day.' Mt. alone has the going X.o Jerusalem to 
suffer all this. 

^ In the true text of Mt iv. 10 there is no fnrlaia fiov after Craye, and 
Origen does not seem to know of the insertion, which is found in D and 
some later texts, from xvi« 18. 


shared by the other Apostles) is a proof that a general proclama- 
tion of Jesus as. the Messiah would have been fatal. There is 
also to be considered the effect of Peter's remonstrance upon 
Christ Himself. In Peter the banished Satan had once more 
returned, and by him the dire temptations to which Jesus had 
been subjected in the wilderness had been renewed. The 
victory over evil which He had won there had to be won over 
again ; and He alone knows what the victory in each case cost 
Him. His prayer in Gethsemane, that even then the cup might 
pass from Him, shows what an awful power of attraction the 
suggestion that the end might be gained without suffering, had 
for His human souL It was this which caused Him to insist 
upon the Twelve being silent to outsiders respecting the fact of 
His being the Messiah, and it was this which caused Him to 
insist upon Peter's being silent to Him respecting the possibility 
of His obtaining the Crown without any exj)erience of the Cross. 
Neither the multitude by their misdirected enthusiasm, nor the 
Apostle by his misdirected affection, must seduce Him from 
what was decreed by the Divine Will. ' He must go to Jerusalem 
and suffer many things.' ^ Peter's love for his Master was real, 
but it was exhibited ' not wisely ' ; in accordance, not with the 
mind of God, but with the sordid calculations of human affection ; 
and it was therefore a snare rather than a support. 

Peter's primacy is of a strangely varied character, and it is 
sometimes a primacy of evil rather than of good. If he is first 
in rank, and first in confession of feith, he is also first in tempting, 
and first in denying, his Master. The rock of foundation almost 
at once becomes a rock of offence, and that, not to the Church, 
but to its very Builder. 

Like the time when He became conscious that He was the 
Messiah, the time when Jesus became conscious that He must 
suffer many things and be killed, is hidden from us. We have 
no right to assume (see Jn. iii. 14) that He had only just become 
aware of it, when He revealed the fact to His disciples. On the 
other hand, we need not suppose that He had known it from 
His childhood. We may reverently believe that even He re- 
quired to be trained for such a future, and that perhaps not 
until His Baptism, and then only gradually, was the will of God, 
in this respect, revealed to Him. A childhood overshadowed 
by the prospect of sufferings from which even His ripe manhood 
shrank, would indeed bq a mystery. 

' For the first time this ' must ' (tfci) of the Divine decrees respecting the 
Messiah is used in this Gospel, in which it is not fre()uent ; comp. xxvi. 54. 
It is specially common in Lk. (ii. 49, iv. 43, ix. 22, xiii. 33, xvii. 25, xix. 5, 
xxiL 37, xxiv. 7, 26, 44: comp. Acts iii. 21, xvii. 3 ; i Cor. xv. 25). And, 
before this, Christ had intimated that death, and even death by crucifixion, 
wai included in the ' must ' (Jn. ii. 19, iii. 14). 


According to Mt, the exhortation which follows the rebuke 
to Peter (24-27) was a continuation of the training of the 
Twelve; but Mk. (viii. 34) lets us know that even in this 
remote region Jesus was sufficiently known for a multitude 
to be collected round Him, and that He called them to Him 
and addressed them along with His disciples. Although the 
multitude might not be told that He was the Messiah, and 
although even the Twelve could scarcely bear to be told that 
the Messiah, the Author of their salvation, must be made 
perfect by sufferings (Heb. ii. 10), yet all needed to be taught 
that they themselves require suffering for their perfecting, and 
must be prepared for it and willing to endure it. He who 
would 'Come after' Christ, Le, become His disciple, must 
be ready for three things, self-denial,^ cross-bearing, and loyal 
obedience. The startling metaphor of bearing the cross has 
been mentioned before (x. 38), but to many of Christ's hearers 
it would be new. It shows once more that He desired no half- 
hearted disciples, and that He did not wish candidates for the 
Kingdom to be under any illusions as to the kind of life that 
was required. If Peter had known more of what was necessary 
for himself he would not have had so violent a repugnance to 
the thought of the Messiah being required to suffer. 

It is the common belief of mankind that he is happiest who 
possesses most; and apparently no amount of experience can 
uproot this delusion. But (25) he is happiest who is himself a 
possession, possessed by Christ, and ready to sacrifice every- 
thing, even life itself, for His sake,^ The greatest of all earthly 
possessions is nothing, unless there is some one to enjoy it 
When the possessor perishes, what is the worth of the possession ? 
And what is there that he could give to place himself in pos- 
session again? Christianity and the highest forms of moral 
philosophy are agreed that the claims of self-interest are best 
met by self-sacrifice, and that consciously to make one's own 
happiness one's aim is a sure way to lose it. 

Sayings such as these (24-26) were evidently uttered more 

' 'To deny himself is more than what we mean by * self-denial ' ; it 
means to refuse to make one's own pleasure the aim of life, and one's own 
will the law of life. For these are substituted the well-being of others and 
the Will of God. 

' This is crucial ; to lose one's life, and sacrifice all its powers and possi- 
bilities, for a wrong reason, is to lose it indeed. Comp. "For what then 
have men lost their life, or for what have those who were on the earth ex- 
changed their soul?" (Apocalypse of Baruch, li. 15). Here the drriXKaytux 
is given, not received ; so the meaning may be, * What shall a man pay to get 
back his life, after he has forfeited it by sinning to make gain ? ' So 1 yndale, 
Cranmer, and the Genevan Version : ' What shall a man give to redeem hia 
soul again ? ' Comp. Horn. //. ix. 40X-409. Lk« has iavrbw (for r. injx^ 


than once by our Lord, and perhaps were frequently repeated 
by Him. Mt. gives them twice, at the mission of the Twelve 
(x. 37-39) and here. Lk. gives them thrice'; here (ix. 23), 
xiv. 25-27, and xvii. 33, the last being very different in wording; 
Mk. (viii. 34-37) and Jn. (xiL 25) each of them once. Here 
in all three Gospels a reason is given for the declaration of 
these severe conditions of discipleship ; ^ For the Son of Man 
shall come in the glory of His Father with His Angels.' ^ Here 
Mt omits that at the Coming the Son of Man will be ashamed 
of whoever has been ashamed of Him, for he has already re- 
corded similar words at x. 32, 33 ; but he adds here : 'and then 
shall He render to each man according to his conduct ' (irara r^v 
irpa(iv avTov), a phrase which does not occur elsewhere in the 
N.T. We may perhaps assume that the words which Mt omits 
were spoken twice; and S. Paul perhaps alludes to them in 
'If we shall deny Him, He also will deny us' (2 Tim. ii. 12). 

We are not quite sure whether the concluding verse (28) was 
spoken at the same time as what precedes. Neither Mt nor 
Lk. indicate any interval. Mk. introduces the words with a 
fresh 'And He was saying to them' (koX 2\cy€v avrots), which 
may or may not intimate that there was an interval. It cannot, 
however, have been long, and the question is not of importance. 
The important point is the very marked difference between Mt 
and the other two as to the last clause of this saying. Mk. and 
Lk. have : * till they see the Kingdom of God,' which may refer to 
the Transfiguration regarded as a foretaste of Christ's glory in 
the future Kingdom. Mt has: 'till they see the Son of Man 
coming in His Kingdom,' which hardly admits of any other 
interpretation than the Second Advent And yet none of those 
present lived to witness the Second Advent. No difference of 
translation of the same Aramaic original will help us here. If 
Christ uttered what Mk. reports, then Mt. misrepresents the 
saying, and vice versa. There can be little doubt that Mk.'s is 
the earliest report, and the closest to what was actually said. 
Mt and Lk. have both of them used Mk., Lk. following him 
almost exactly, while Mt substitutes a phrase which he believed 
to be equivalent in meaning. At the time when Mt wrote, it 
was commonly believed that most of those who were then alive 
would live to see the Second Advent (i Thes. iv. 15), and some 
of the Twelve were then alive. Mt believed that * till they see 
the Kingdom of God come with power ' meant * till they see the 

^ All three here have ' the Father ' of God, a usage which is far more 
common (45 times) in Mt. than in Lk. (17 times) or Mk. (5 times). All 
three also add 'the Angels' to 'the glory of the Father.' We can hardly 
doubt that Christ mentioned them in this connexion. Would He have done 
so, if they do not exist? It would have sufficed to say 'in the glory of the 
Father.' See on ziiL 49 and zzviii. 2. 


Son of Man coining in His Kingdom,' and he therefore 
substituted a clear expression for the less clear phrase in Mk.^ 
Comp. X. 23 and xxiv. 34. . These three passages show that the 
First Gospel was written before the belief that Christ would 
return soon had been extinguished. They would not have been 
left standing as they are, after experience had proved that the 
predictions had not been fulfilled. It is, however, a rash 
inference to draw from them that Christ uttered predictions 
which were imtrue. The comparison which has just been made 
between Mk.'s wording and that of Mt shows what the right 
inference is. Christ's words were from the first misunderstood. 
An interpretation which was perhaps verbally possible, but which 
was erroneous, was put upon them ; and then His words were 
altered so as to express this misinterpretation. All this was done 
quite innocently. The Evangelists, or the sources which they 
used, simply endeavoured to give in plain language the meaning 
of what Jesus was believed to have said. The theory that in the 
Gospels we have a literal translation into Greek of the very 
words which our Lord used cannot be maintained in the face of 
the facts which confront us again and again. Yet another 
possibility must be borne in mind, — that these passages are 
highly metaphorical, and that we misinterpret them in applying 
them to the Second Advent.^ 

Characteristic expressions in ch. zvL : vpoaipxeirOai (i), XtMouKoXoi 
(I, 6, II, 12), 6 «aiH)p 6 iw rdit odpopoit (17), Arb T&r9 (21), T&re (24). 
Peculiar: 'lepe/ilas (14), ii ptwiXela tQw odpeufQw (19). In the interpolation 
(2, 3) we have eidla and rvppd^etw. The latter word is late Greek, but 
wvppll'euf is found in the LXX. 

The interpolation about the weather is found in the newly discoyered 
andal which nas been acquired by Mr. Freer of Detroit, and is pronounced 
by experts to be of the iinn, or possibly of the fourth century. See above on 
the interpolated doxology after the Lord's Prayer (vi. 13), which is also 
containea in this MS. It also contains the insertion at Lk. vi. 5, hitherto 
known only from Codex Bezse. On the otiier hand, it omits Lk. xxii. 43, 
44, xxiii. 34; Jn. v. 4, vii. 53-viii. 11. See Burkitt, Evangelum da-Me- 
pharreshe^ ii. p. 192. 

^ Zahn's suggestion that Mt. preserves the original form of the saying, 
and that Mk. and Lk. have altered it, is much less probable. Mk. must 
have been written while the belief in Christ's speedy return was still 
prevalent; and in that case there would have been no temptation to alter 
Mt.'8 wording of the saying. Moreover, all the way through we can see that 
it is Mt. who uses Mk., not Mk. who uses Mt. 

* " His words are generally so interpreted (of His personal visible return), 
and this seems at first their obvious meaning. Yet it is doubtfhl whether all 
the language which is so interpreted is not better understood as oriental 
imagery describing the accompaniments of His coming in the conversion of 
multitudes to faith in Him, and in the downfiedl of Judaism as the representa* 
tive of true religion " (Burton and Mathews). 


XVn. 1-18. The Transfiguration, 

The historical character of this mysterious event is guaranteed 
(i) by the improbability of invention^ for there had been nothing 
in Christ's previous life to make an appearance of Moses and 
Elijah probable, and there is nothing like it in the O.T., the 
glorification of Moses at Sinai being very different; (2) by its 
intrinsic suitability to the crisis in the Ministry which has just 
been reached ; (3) by the testimony of all three Synoptisis \ and 
(4) by the remarkable injunction to silence (see above on zvi. 20). 
Whatever date we assign to 2 Peter, the allusion to the Trans- ' 
figuration (2 Pet. i. 16-18) is evidence of what was believed at 
that date respecting the incident, and is so far a confirmation of 

The three accounts are harmonious as to main facts, although 
each narrative contains details which are not in the others. 
Both Mt. and Lk. used Mk., and it is possible that Mt had no 
other authority. But it is also possible that he had information 
which was not used by Mk., and it is probable that Lk. had 
some other source or sources. Uc. is much more independent 
of Mk. than Mt. is. The changes which Mt makes in Mk.'s 
narrative may be purely editorial. He alone mentions that the 
disciples fell on their faces when they heard the voice from 
heaven, and that Jesus came and touched them and said, * Arise, 
and be not afraid.' Mt's omissions may be safely regarded as 
editorial. With his usual tenderness for the Twelve, he omits 
that Peter 'wist not what to answer,' and that all three 
' questioned what the rising again from the dead should mean.' 
In a similar spirit he adds, ' Then understood the disciples that 
He spake unto them of John the Baptist' (13). The addition, 
<in whom I am well pleased' (5), brings the wording of the voice 
into harmony with that at the Baptism. But Lk.'s wording, 
except of Peter's exclamation and of the voice from heaven, is 
mainly his own ; and his great additions to the narrative are (a) 
that Christ ' was praying ' when He was glorified in appearance, 
(^) that Moses and Elijah ' spoke of His exodus which He was 
about to accomplish at Jerusalem,' and (r) that the disciples 
were 'heavy with sleep.' LL may be dating from a different 
point when he says 'about eight days' instead of 'six days,' or 
both expressions may mean a week. The mention of a week's 
interval, which has no special point, is a mark of historical truth. 
Nearly all modem travellers and commentators are agreed that 
the 'high mountain 'is Hermon, not Tabor.* 

* In the Greek Church the Feast of the Transfiguration is still sometimes 
called t6 eoBiipimf i Hauck, Rtal-EncyeL zbu p. 580 ; Henog and Plitt, 
XT. p. 362 ; Schaff-Hertog, iv. p. 238a. 


It is impossible for us to determine what the experiences of 
the three disciples were. The manner of the manifestation 
eludes us. Christ Himself calls it a 'vision' (opafiay ver. 9), 
which does not mean that it was unreal (Acts vii. 31, ix. 10, 
xvi. 9, 10, xviii. 9). It was no optical delusion, but an appear- 
ance granted to three persons simultaneously. They were 
convinced that they had seen the glorified representatives of the 
Law and the Prophets conversing with the glorified Christ ; and, 
although it is lawful to conjecture how this conviction was 
produced, no conjecture can be affirmed with certainty. Their 
fear is in all three accounts; in Mk. after the appearance of 
Moses and Elijah ; in Lk. after the cloud and before the voice ; 
in Mt. after both cloud and voice. Mt alone calls the cloud 
'bright' (<^cin^, which Origen explains as the gloiy of the 
Trinity: comp. 2 Pet. i. 17. 

It is wiser to seek for the meaning of the event than to frame 
guesses as to the manner of it. It must have had a meaning for 
the disciples, and perhaps we may venture to say that it must 
have had a meaning for Christ Himself. To the disciples, who 
had been so amazed at the doctrine that the Messiah must suffer 
and die, it would be a great consolation. Peter's exclamation 
seems to imply deep contentment, which he wishes to prolong ; 
and there may have been a desire to continue a time of peace 
and beauty, and to postpone indefinitely the return to danger 
and work. The Transfiguration taught all three that the Passion 
of the Messiah did not mean that the glory of the Kingdom 
would be lost; but the glory would be, not of earth, but of 
heaven. Although the Messiah was to be rejected by His own 
people, He was not rejected by God : He was still the Divine 
Son, in whom the Father declared Himself to be well pleased. 
The Law and the Prophets had spoken of Him and prepared 
the way for Him, even as regards His humiliation and brief 
acquaintance with the grave ; but they were now superseded by 
Him. Moses and Elijah disappear, 'Jesus alone' abides, and 
they are to listen to Him. ' Hear ye Him,' which distinguishes 
this voice from that at the Baptism, is in all three Gospels. See 
on iii. 17, and Hastings' DB. iv., art. 'Transfiguration'; Bruce, 
T^ Training 0/ the 7\velve^ pp. 188-191. 

Jesus Himself would rejoice at this confirmation of the 
disciples' belief in Him. They now knew on additional authority 
of the highest order that the Messiah must pass through death 
to glory, and hereafter this lesson would come home to them.^ 
But at this crisis in His ministry He Himself may have been in 

^ Yet it is to be noted that His ' exodus ' or ' departure ' is spoken of as 
an achievement which He is 'about to accomplish, rather than as a fate 
which He cannot escape (Lk. ix. 31). 


need of comfort The grievous temptations of the devil in the 
wilderness had just been renewed by His own Apostle. During 
these last months of His earthly career the shadow of the Cross 
was falling on Him more and more, and He may have needed 
this foretaste of His glory to help Him to endure the foretaste 
of His sufferings. He accepted the strengthening of an Angel 
in the garden ; and He may have accepted similar strengthening 
on the mount. 

Lk. tells us that the descent from the mountain took place 
' on the next day/ which probably means that the Transfiguration 
took place at night^ He omits the question about Elijah, which 
would not interest Gentile readers. It perhaps implies that the 
Scribes had used this argument against the suggestion that Jesus 
might be the Messiah: "How can He be the Messiah, when 
Elijah, who is to precede the Messiah, is not yet come ? " Mt 
alone states that John was not recognized as the Elijah of 
prophecy: *they knew him not'; but this is implied in Mk.'s 
rather confused report of Christ's words, which Mt. improves. 
* Even so shall the Son of Man also suffer of them ' is much 
clearer than the words in Mk. A suffering Forerunner is to be 
followed by a suffering Messiah. Such a renewal of the prediction 
of His Passion, immediately after the glory of the Transfiguration, 
is remarkable. 

We cannot safely infer from the vague ^odyotw a^f Sffa (12) that "our 
Lord attributed the Baptist's murder to the Jewish rulers rather than to Herod 
and Herodias." The nominative to irolifaav may be Herod and Herodias, 
or it may be those who actually captured the Baptist and those who actually 
slew him. The addition in Mk. ix. 13, KoBin yiyparrai ir* atrinf^ seems 
to show that Herod and Herodias are meant. In what sense did it * stand 
written ' that the Baptist was to suffer as he did, if not in the treatment of 
Elijah by Ahab and Jezebel, who were the protot3rpes of Herod and Herodias ? 

Both Mt. and Mk. have iroLiiaaVf which the AV. renders ' have done.' 
The RV. changes *■ have done ' to ' did ' in Mt. but leaves it unchanged &i 
Mk. The difference between 09a i^^Ai^cray (Mt.) and 6<ra. ifieKov (Mk.) can 
hardly be made in English without clumsiness of expression. Mt. frequently 
changes Mk.'s imperfects into aorists. In ver. 10 we have 4rwHbrri<nuf for 

iSlhovy iff(b^otrro (Mk. vi. 20, 41, 56), etc. etc. 

The time of year at which the Transfiguration took place is not mentioned 
in any of the narratives ; but Colonel Mackinlay makes the attractive hypo- 
thesis that it was at the Feast of Tabernacles. The proposal of Peter to 
' make three tabernacles ' may have been suggested to him by the fact that this 
was the season for making such thinj^s. "Some train of thought must have 
been running through his mind, and if the Feast of Tabernacles were at hand 
he might naturally have thought of honouring each by making a tabernacle 
for each" {7Ae Afagi, p* 222). Mackinlay, as already not^, makes the 
Feast of Tabernacles the time of the Nativity and also of the beginning of 

^ The difference between ' six days ' and ' about eight days ' might arise 
in that way, according as the night was counted with the preceding day or 


Christ's Ministry ; and he places four Feasts of Tabernacles in the Lord's 
Ministry as well as four Passovers, making the nameless feast of Jn. v. i to 
be a Passover. The time at which the Feast of the Transfiguration is cele- 
brated (6 August in most calendars, 14 July in the Armenian) is no guide as 
to the actual date of the event, any more than rb 6a/8(6p(or, as one of the 
names for the festival, is any guide as to the place. For speculations as to 
the purposes of the Transfiguration see papers in the /TS., Jan. and July 1903 
and Jan. 1904. 

XVn. 14-21. Tke Healing of an EpiUpHc Boy. 

Mk. and Lk. say that the boy was possessed by a demon or 
unclean spirit, and Mt. falls into this mode of expressing the 
phenomena when he says that 'the demon came out' (18), and 
thereby shows his acquaintance with Mk. His own expression, 
* epileptic ' or * moon-struck * (orcXi^vio^cor^ai), is found only here 
and in iv. 24* He greatly shortens Mk.'s narrative, perhaps 
because, with hb tenderness for the Apostles, he did not like 
to dwell upon their failure, which, however, had to be mentioned, 
unless the miracle was to be stripped of its most characteristic 
features. The details which he omits are just those which he is 
wont to omit in other cases. He omits the conversation with 
the father of the afilicted boy, in which Jesus asks for information, 
and thereby seems to imply ignorance; and he omits the fact 
that the convulsions caused by Christ's healing word appeared 
to have killed the lad, until Christ 'took him by the hand and 
raised him up.' So that, as in the case of the blind man at 
Bethsaida (Mk. viii. 22-26), which Mt omits altogether, the 
cure seemed to be at first incomplete. Mt. corrects this im- 
pression by stating that 'the boy was cured from that hour ' (18). 
While Mk. represents our Lord as taking the initiative with a 
question, Mt and Lk. begin with the father's appeal, and Mt. 
alone states that the father knelt to Christ.^ The introductory 
rebuke, ' O unbelieving generation,' is in all three, and may or 
may not include the disciples who had failed to heal the boy. 
It appears to be addressed to the multitude as representing the 
nation, and it prepares the way for the more definite rehire to 
the disciples sifter the miracle. Mt and Lk. both add 'and 
perverse ' to ' unbelieving.' The exclamation is one of weariness, 
and perhaps disappointment ; and the ' how long ' suggests that 
the end which is drawing near will be welcome. 

'Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said. Why 
could not we cast it out ? ' Here again Mt shows his acquaint- 
ance with Mk. In ver. 16, he turned Mk.'s 'they were not able 

^ Comp. ii. 2, II, viii. 2, iz. 18, xiv. 33, xv. 25, xx. 20; but here he 
has 7orurerwi', instead of his usual wpoaKwtXv : and he alone gives die Ki?/He, 



to cast it out* into *they could not cure him,' and in ver. i8 he 
said that the boy 'was cured from that hour'; but here Mk/s 
expression, ' cast it out,' prevails, just as his ' came out ' prevailed 
in ver. i8. Had Mt never seen Mk. he would no doubt have 
written, 'Why could not we cure him?' The disciples who ask 
the question are, of course, those who had not been with Him 
on the mount^ The whole narrative is written from the point 
of view of those who Aad been with Him there, and we can 
hardly doubt that Peter is the chief authority for the three 
accounts. In this concluding portion, however, respecting the 
rebuke to the defeated disciples, Lk. is silent, although he has 
a similar saying, in a different context, xvii. 6. For 'this 
mountain,' which means the mount of the Transfiguration, LL ' 
has 'this sycamine tree.' 'Mountain' was a common Jewish 
metaphor for 'difficulty,' and the whole saying is coloured with 
Oriental imagery. Foi^etfulness of this has led to strange mis- 
interpretations of what can be done by those who have faith. 
Comp. ix. 22, 29, xviiL 19. 

Mt's report of Christ's reply to the unsuccessful disciples is 
much less obscure than that of Mk. Mk. has: 'This kind can 
come out by nothing, save by prayer.' What does ' This kind ' 
mean? Evil spirits in general? or dumb and deaf spirits in 
particular? And who is to pray? The possessed person? or 
his friends ? or the exorcist ? The reply in Mt is clear enough : 
' Because of your little faith.' It was not because of His absence : 
when He sent them out two and two to cast out demons and to 
heal diseases, there is no report of failure. It was not the taunts 
of the Scribes : their questioning had followed the failure, not 
caused it The fault lay in themselves. His power to heal was 
with them as before, but they had lost the power of making use 
of it Unconsciously they had fallen away into a condition of 
mind in which they trusted either too much in themselves, as if 
the power were their own ; or too little in Christ, as if in this 
difficult case He might fail them. It is so easy for faith to 
dwindle, without the loss of it being observed.* It was not their 
faith in Jesus as the Messiah that had failed them, but their faith 
in the commission to heal which He had given them. It endued 
them with power, but the power was not their own. 

^ Mt. says that they came to Him ' apart ' ; as usual he omits that it was 
in a A^use ; oomp. ix. i with Mk. ii. I ; xii. 22-24 ^^^^ ^k. iii. 20-22 ; xv. 
15, 21 with Mk. vii. 17, 24; xvii. 19 with Mk. ix. 28; xix. 6 with Mk. x. 

* Hence Christ says, ' as a grain of mustard-seed/ not, ' as a grain of 
sand ' ; small, but capable of growth, and very large j^rowth. Comp. xv. 28, 
where Mt. gives the presence of faith as the cause of healing, but Mk. gives 
a diflferent explanation. See W. M. Alexander, Demonic Possession, pp. 

193. 278. 


Authorities are divided between ' little fiuth ' {SKiyori/rrla) and ' unbelief 
{drtffrla). It b more likely that the rare word 6\iyoriorla {H B) would be 
changed into the common word drtrrla (C D etc.) than vice versa, especially 
as d yeyed Arurros might suggest the latter. Four times Mt. has 6\iry&irLffTos 
as a term of reproach to the cusciples (vL 30, viii 26, ziv. 31, xvL 8). 

We may sfuely regard, ' But this kind goeth not out save by prayer and 
fasting' as an interpolation from Mk. iz. 29, made after 'andmsting' had 
been added to that verse. Here K B and other important witnesses omit 
the whole verse ; and in those authorities which contain it the wordin|^ differs. 

In the next verse (22) there is a various reading of some mterest: 
ffWTf>e^fiivup {H B), ' as they were gathering together,' is to be fueferred 
to djfwrrpt<pQftiwtaw (C D etc.), 'as they abode.' The former is rare in the 
N.T. Comp. Acts zxviiL 3. 

XVn. 29y 28. Another Announcement of the Possum. 

What follows the curing of the epileptic boy (22, 33} b often 
called ''the second announcement of the Passion.'' Bu^ even as 
regards what is recorded, it is the third : for we have already had 
two (xvi. 21, zvii. 13) ; and it is improbable that all the occasions 
on which our Lord spoke of this subject have been recorded. 
The words which are common to all three narratives of this new 
announcement are : ' The Son of Man is about to be delivered 
up (/lAcAAci irapa8i8oo-^) into the hands of men ' ; but Mk. uses 
the present tense, as of a process which is already begun : '/> 
being delivered up* (irapaSffiorai). The Glory of the Transfigura- 
tion and the voice proclaiming Him as the Divine Son do not 
interfere with our Lord's continuing to speak of Himself as the 
Son of Man. What is meant by 'delivered up' is not certain. 
It is often understood of the act of the traitor (6 xal Traf>a8ovs 
avrov, Xi 4). (Comp. X3L 19, X3cvi. 31-25, 46, 48.) But it may 
also, as Origen has pointed out, refer to the delivering up of the 
Son by the Father for the redemption of all men. In this way 
the addition 'into the hands of man' has real point; God 
delivers up His Son to men. Otherwise the addition is almost 

The changes which Mt. makes in Mk.'s record are again very 
interesting. He corrects ' after three days ' to ' on the third day,' 
and substitutes 'be raised up' for 'rise again' (comp. xvi 21 
with Mk. viii. 31); and he again spares the Twelve by omitting 
'But they understood not the saying, and were afraid to ask 
Him.' For this he substitutes, 'And they were exceeding 
sorry,' which comes strangely after 'the third day He shall be 

^ Abbott strongly contends for this meaning, and he suggests that the 
original sa^ng was 'delivered up ,/^ men,' and that it was this which the 
disciples did not understand, for as yet they knew little about the mediatory 
nature of Christ's death {Faradosis, pp. 53 ff.}. But was it not the raising 
a^n which they could not nnderstana? Mk. ix. 10, 32. Lk. ix. 44, 45 if 


raised up.' But it illustrates the &ct that Christ's predictions of 
the Resurrection were not understood until after He had risen. 
Lk., who here omits the prediction of Christ's death and rising 
again, says that the meaning of the saying was concealed from 
them purposely (iz. 45}. Comp. Lk. xviii. 34, xxiv. 16. Their 
being afraid to ask Him was very natural, both because He was so 
reserved resf>ecting Himself, and because they feared to learn 
something still more trying. The severe rebuke to Peter would 
also be fresh in their minds. They neither remonstrate nor 
question, but maintain a mournful and perplexed silence. 
Comp. xxvL 22. 

XVn. M-S7. The Tempk-Tax and the Stater in the FisHs 


Excepting the introductory words about a return to 
Capernaum, this narrative is peculiar to Mt In reference 
to the return, he characteristically omits Christ's entrance into 
a house and the fact that on the way the disciples had 
disputed which of them was greatest It was before the disciples 
entered the house that the tax-collectors had applied to Peter for 
the usual contribution, and it may have been their recognizing 
him as leader and spokesman that started the discussion as to 
who was first in the company. Half a shekel was payable 
annually to the Temple by every Jew over twenty years of age 
(Exod. XXX. i3>. The j>^i^/ equalled four Attic Drachma (Jos. 
Ant, III. viii. 2 h and hence this tax came to be known as * the 
two drachma ' {to SiSpaxfwv or ra 8ffipax/tta). ' Does your Master 
not pay the usual tax ? ' The collectors, who were quite different 
from the * publicans ' or collectors of toll for the Romans or the 
Herods, perhaps knew that Jesus did not always conform to 
traditional regulations ; and, as Jesus had only recently returned 
to Capernaum, the tax may have become due while He was 
absent.^ Peter, who knew what Christ's previous practice had 
been, at once says that He does pay ; and Mt's special interest 
in Peter seems to have led to the preservation of this narrative. 
Our Lord does not wait for Peter to consult Him as to whether 
he has answered rightly or not, about which he perhaps had 
misgivings: He anticipates Peter, and thus disposes of the 
question of the tribute before rebukmg the Twelve for their 
dispute about precedence. 

The exact meaning of Christ's argumentative parable is 

^ But the tax was like a voluntary church-rate ; no one could be compelled 
to pay. Peter may have suspected that the collectors' quesdon was an 
insinuation that Jesus would not pay, and hence his prompt affinnative: 
" Of course.'* 



debated, but the old explanation is probably the right one : that 
Jesus, as the Son of God, is free from an impost for the mainten- 
ance of His Father's Temple. The objections to this are not 
conclusive. It is urged that such an argument would reveal just 
what He had forbidden the Twelve to divulge, that He was the 
Messiah. But the argument would not have gone beyond the 
disciples* To the collectors it would have sufficed to reply : " I 
do not wish to pay.'' Again, it is urged that in the parable we 
have * from their sons,' not ' from their son,' and the plural does 
not commonly represent an individual But the form of the 
parable requires the plural; 'aliens' or 'strangers' is plural, 
and it needs a plural contrast The contrast is between those 
who are members of the royal family and those who are not; 
the former being exempt from taxation. Whether the royal 
family is represented by one son or by several is not of the 
essence of the argument This interpretation of the argument is 
so simple, and fits the context so well, that it is likely to be the 
right one. 

Relying upon the plural, some would interpret the ' sons ' as 
meaning the whole Jewish nation, or, at any rate, all religious 
Jews.^ If this is correct, then our Lord is teaching that this is 
not a tax which ought to be collected from Jews at all, but 
perhaps might be imposed upon Gentiles. Yet would He have 
suggested getting money from heathen to support Jewish 
worship? And would He have treated in this way an impost 
which was believed to be enjoined by the written Law? His 
treatment of the rule of not eating without washing is not 
parallel ; that was human tradition. 

Others would make 'their sons' refer, neither to Christ 
exclusively, nor to the whole Jewish nation, but to Christ and 
His disciples. In that case 'their sons' does not mean the 
royal family^ but the royal household. Christ would not have 
counted Himself as a son in the sense in which the disciples 
were ' sons of God ' (comp. v. 9). His Sonship is unique. ' I 
ascend unto My Father and your Father' Qn. xx. x 7) marks this 
clearly ; and here also He says : ' That take and give for Me and 
thee.' But Christ and His disciples, though not in the same 
sense members of the royal family, were in the same sense 
members of the royal household. In so far as the Kingdom had 
already come, they were in it; and in so far as it was future, 
they were fellow-workers for it This Kingdom was to supersede 
all Jewish worship and the promoters of the new Kingdom were 

^ It is not likely that * their sons ' means their fellow-countr^rmen. A Jew, 
with experience of taication under the Herods, would not think it true that 
Jewish kings do not tax Jews. See Schttrer, Jtwish PeopU^ 11. L pp. 250, 


not bound to support a dispensation which it was their duty to 
render obsolete. In this way Jesus might claim for Himself and 
His disciples an exemption which could not be claimed for all 
Jews. 'That we may not cause them to stumble' is in favour 
of including the disciples in the claim. 

Nevertheless, the question which called forth this argument 
was whether Jesus Himself would pay. No question is raised 
about the Twelve. It seems to be assumed throughout that 
Peter, and therefore his companions, will pay.^ And perhaps it 
is safer to confine the reference to the Divine Sonship of Jesus, 
the bearing of which upon the question, Peter, in his eagerness 
to place his Master in a favourable light with die collectors, had 
overlooked. But in any case we have an instance of the humility 
of Christ, who, although He was greater than the Temple, yet 
submitted to t^ taxed for the continuance of sacrifices, whidi for 
a few months longer would still have a meaning in foreshadowing 
the one Sacrifice to be oflfered by Himself. Moreover, "Jesus 
here illustrates a fixed principle of all refonns, viz. the avoidance 
of actions which are not absolutely essential for the success of 
the reform, and which, because easily misunderstood, and so 
arousing prejudice, would make it more difficult for others to 
join in the good movement" (Burton and Mathews, p. 163). 
Some, who might otherwise have listened to Him, would have 
turned away had He seemed by His example to teach that the 
Temple-services were not worth maintaining. His willingness to 
pay may remind us of His willingness to submit to baptism in 
order to fulfil all righteousness, and also of His zeal for the 
honour of His Fathers House, when the hierarchy had turned it 
into a place of traffic. Neither His right to exemption, on the 
one hand, nor the fact that the Temple would soon be over- 
thrown, on the other, allowed Him to spare Himself cost or 
trouble. He submits rather than risk causing others to offend. 
And, as if to confirm Peter in the conviction that as the Son 
of God He is free. He manifests to him a miracle of fore- 

The miracle is not without its difficulties, of which the silence 
of the other Evangelists is only a small part It seems to violate 
the principle, that miracles are never wrought where ordinary 
means would suffice. The small sum required could have been 
obtained in some other way. It brings no healing or comfort to 
any one. It seems to be wrought for a very trifling purpose ; for, 

1 Peter seems to be recognized as the head disciple : and neither he nor 
his Master has any money ; comp. xxii. I?. ^ u u ,. 

* "All the attempts have been in vain which were made by the older 
Rationalism to put a nonmiraculous meaning into these words " (B. Wdss, 
Lift cf Christ, u. p. 337)- 


poor as Christ and His disciples were, the raising of three or four 
shillings does not appear to be a matter that calls for a mu-acle. 
Moreover, in the advantage gained by the finding of the coin, 
Jesus Himself shared. Indeed the chief use of the money was 
to pay His tax for Him. 

These objections would have more force, if our Lord had 
turned a stone into a stater} or had created the money required. 
The miracle lies solely in His knowing beforehand that there 
would be no need to dip into the bag which Judas carried, but 
that God would provide exactly what was required. This super- 
natural knowledge was a lesson to Peter, and through him to 
Christendom, respecting the character and the freedom of the 
Christ The Father was about to enable the Son to avoid 
violating either His own freedom or the consciences of those 
who could not understand that freedom. Jesus knows this, and 
He allows Peter to know it 

There is nothing incredible in the manner in which the money 
is found. Such things have happened, and our Lord may have 
foretold that it would happen to Peter. But we may allow the 
possibility of metaphor, or of the exact words used by Christ 
being either misunderstood or modified in tradition. ' In the 
fish that thou shalt catch thou shalt find what will pay for Me 
and for thee ' might mean that the fish would sell for as much ; 
and this would easily take the form which Mt records. We are 
not told that Peter did find a coin in the mouth of a fish, and 
thus the confirmation of the exact terms of the prediction is 
lacking. The case is not like that of the colt tied (Mk. xi. 2, 4), 
or that of the man bearing a pitcher of water (Mk. xiv. 13, 16), 
in both of which cases both the prediction and the fulfilment 
are recorded. 

In Cod. Algerinse PeckoTer (Evan. 561, Gregory 713, which is one of the 
Ferrar group and of about the eleventh century) there is an insertion between 
w, 26 and 27. "Simon said, Yea. Jesus saith, Give therefore thou also 
as their stranger " : i^ 'Zlfiup' yal. \iyei Ti^o-oCrt' d6f <^ koI ci> Cm dXXdr/Hos 
ai^6r. In z/z'. 25, 26 there are small deviations from the true text, and in 
ver. 27 iyKilfieyoy is added after arar^pa and ixei before it: ebp^Mit ixti 
oraTrjpa iyKtifieyw, There is no reason to suppose that the interpolated say- 
ings are anything more than a paraphrasing parallel of the true text. See 
Resch, Agrapha^ No. 14, p. 37, 2nd ed. ; C. R. Gregory, Das Freer-Logion^ 
p. 25. The interpolation about the tribute is found also in the Arabic 

^ A staier was equal to four drachnuz or to one shekil^ and therefore would 
pay for two persons. As the didrachm was very rarely coined at this period, 
it must have been a common thing for two persons to pay the tax with one 
coin ; and this is some confirmation of the traidition that a coin, and the right 
amount for two payments, was found. It is a further confirmation of it that 
the tradition must have arisen at a time when the Temple was still standing 
(WeUhausen, p. 90). See F. W. Madden, Mist* of Jewish Cpinagef pp. 


Diatessaron (xxv. 6) ; see Burkitt, Evangelum da-Mepharreshe^ ii. pp. 192, 
274. In the Acta Thoma^ 143, Bonnet, p. 250, Christ is said to "have given 
head-money for Himself and His disciples " — eViJce^dXaca h^ZviKiiz inrip a&rw 
Kal tQv airrov fiaOriTu)v. 

Characteristic expressions in ch. xvii. : Kal I806 (3, 5), l8o6 {$), ff^dpa 
(6, 23), Trpoaipxeaeai (7, 14, 19, 24), T6re (13, 19), xpoffipipeip (16), &pa 
iKclvTi (18), furapalpetw (20 dts)^ iKeT(20), rl <roi Joicc?; (25), vopeieffBax (27). 
The following are not found elsewhere in the N.T. : fffKinvv&^€<T9<u (15 and 
iv. 24), 6\iyinriffrla (20), rd dIdpaxfM (24 dis), Tpo^d^cip (25), AyKiarpoif 
(27), rraHip (27). 

The derivation of oraHip is from tmjfu in the sense of ' weigh,' a sense 
which it has in xxvi. 15 (RV.), where D reads araTijpai instead of dpyvpia. 
A stater, therefore, is a standard weight or coin, and the tetradrachm was so 
used. This was convenient in Palestine, where the Phoenician tetradrachtn 
or stater =^i\it Hebrew shekel, *For Me and thee' (not, *for both of us*) 
separates the Lord from Peter (comp. Jn. xx. 17). Perhaps the meaning is 
that the reasons for which each of them paid were diflferent. 

XVnL 1-86. Discourses at Capernaum, 

The first of these is on the childlike temper, a subject which 
arises out of the question of precedence which had been raised 
by the disciples. According to Mk. this question had been 
disputed by the disciples *in the way' (ix. 33), which would 
mean on the journey from the neighbourhood of Oesarea 
Philippi to Capernaum. Possibly the preference shown to Peter, 
James and John at the Transfiguration had led to this dispute ; 
or Peter's forwardness on that occasion may have led the three 
to dispute whether he had any right to precedence. Jesus sits 
down, summons all the Twelve, and chaiges them to become 
like children. Mt once more spares the Twelve by omitting 
the dispute, and he represents the disciples as coming to Jesus 
to ask Him about precedence, and He then calls a child. By 
saying that the disciples' question was asked ' in that hour,' and 
that it was in the form ' Who then {rk &pa) is greatest in the 
Kingdom?,* he closely connects it with the prominence given 
to Peter by the collectors and by Christ Himself, in the matter 
of the Temple-tax. It is clear that throughout this chapter Mt 
has another authority besides Mk. 

Christ Himself had just given an example of humility in 
submitting to be taxed for the Temple-services. He now gives 
a striking object-lesson on the subject. That the child whom 
He took for this purpose was Ignatius is a very late tradition of 
the ninth century, and needs no more than a passing mention 
(Lightfoot, IgnatiuSy i. p. 27, ii. p. 22). The child was probably 
one belonging to the house in which Christ was staying, and 
was well known to Him. The words with which the discourse 
opens ^3) may have been transferred from Mk. x. 14, 15 ( = Mt. 
xix. 14), but they are quite suitable in both contexts. 'Except 


ye turn and become ' is peculiar to this context, and the meaning 
seems to be that by raising this question of precedence the 
disciples had gone in the wrong direction. They evidently did 
not know where true greatness was to be found ; and, if they 
desire to enter the Kingdom, they must remember the first 
Beatitude and return to the childlike attitude, which does not 
seek prominence but shrinks from it In the Kingdom it is 
these childlike souls that are greatest (4). 

In what follows (5), the important qualification, 'in My 
Name,' which is in all three reports, must not be overlooked : 
comp. *for My sake' (xvi. 25). The disciple who wins the high 
honour of receiving Christ is he who welcomes little children, not 
because he is fond of children, but because they represent 
Christ^ The full meaning is * on the basis of My Name ' {hrl r& 
6v6fiaTL fjLov). His name is the symbol of His character, and the 
childlike character is a Christlike character — meek and lowly 
in heart, with a sense of dependence for everything upon a 
parent's wisdom and love. The attractiveness of such a char- 
acter, whether in children or in adults, ought to be felt by every 

The beauty of the childlike temper suggests another subject, 
— the heinousness of marring such beauty, and indeed, generally, 
the grievous sin involved in causing others to sin (6-1 o). Lk. 
has words similar to vv. 6, 7 at xvii. i, 2, but without connexion 
with any incident. They are part of the training of the Twelve. 
Here the mention of * Uttie ones ' connects the two verses with 
what precedes, and the thought of ' causing to stumble ' with 
what follows. The misery of having ruined a beautiful character 
by seducing it into evil is so intense, that a man had better be 
thrown into the sea, like a dog with a stone round its neck, 
rather than incur it Drowning was not a Jewish punishment, 
and in Palestine the scarcity of water would be against any such 
mode of execution. But here there is no thought of punishment 
The thought is that it is better to suffer a dreadful and igno- 
minious death before being guilty of any such sin. It was in 
order to avoid all risk of causing others to offend that Jesus 
submitted to be taxed for the Temple-services. But, in the case 
before us, there is no mere risk, but certainty. And let no one 
think that he cannot kelp sometimes causing little ones to 
stumble. It is true that, the world being so full of temptations, 
and human nature being so weak, occasions of stumbling are 
sure to come and at times to prove fatal; but that does not 
prove that those who cause them are irresponsible. It is a 

^ lliere is something which reminds us of the Fourth Gospel in the ex- 
pression : Jn. xii. 44, 45, xiii. 20, xiv. 9, 24, xv. 23. Comp. Mt. z. 40, 
which anticipates this saying ; also Pirqe Aboihf v. 24. 


grievous thing for the world that some men consent to be 
seducers, and it is a still more grievous thing for the seducers 
that they consent to become such.* 

And there is such a thing as seducing oneself (8, 9), ue, 
letting the lower part of one's nature lead the higher part astray, 
for it is the higher part that is one's true self. We have had 
teaching of this kind already in the Sermon on the Mount 
(v. 29, 30); and the solemnity and stringency of the wording 
ought to convince us of its importance. The language, of course, 
is metaphorical, but there is no doubt as to its meaning. If the 
choice has to be made, it is better to sacrifice most precious 
elements of our being, rather than be guilty of conduct that 
would incur total and irreparable loss of the whole. We sacrifice 
even the most valuable of our limbs, in order to avoid the death 
of the body by incurable disease. We ought to be ready to 
sacrifice things of still greater value, in order to avoid the 
death of the soul in 'the eternal fire.' Mk. here has 'the un- 
quenchable fire,' which Mt has in iii. 12. In both these verses 
the *fire' is opposed to Mife,' and therefore seems to mean 
' destruction.' ' It can hardly mean endless life in torment The 
Jews of that age perhaps thought of endless torment as the 
portion of the wicked, as they also thought that the righteous in 
bliss would behold the torments of the wicked, while the wicked 
in their agony beheld the happiness of the righteous. Christ 
left those ideas undisturbed, but that is no proof that they are 
true. And in some respects, although He did not contradict 
current beliefs, He left teaching which has undermined them. 
See Gould on Mk. ix. 43, and Charles on Enoch xxvii. i. 

Two points must be kept in view in considering the solemn 
warnings. They are hypothetical, depending upon an *if'; ^If 
hand, foot, or eye cause thee to stumble.' And the decision 
whether they do so or not, and therefore the adoption of the 
necessary remedy, rests with the person himself. 

Hand, foot, and eye are excellent things, capable of doing 
God and man good service as well as of being means of innocent 
delight to the possessor of them. They are God's gifts, and 
they were not given simply to be sacrificed and thrown away. 

' In CUm. Ham, xii. 29 Peter is represented as saying : " The prophet 
of the truth said, Good things must (dec) come, and blessed is he through 
whom they come ; in like manner evil things also must needs (di^dY/nj) come, 
but woe to him through whom they come." The dei^ as often in the Gospels, 
may mean ' by God's decree ' (xxiv. 6, xxvi. 54), which is true of the good, 
bat not of the evil. Comp. Pirqe Abothy v. 26. 

' The expressions, rh rGp rS altivior, ^ Kdfupot rod rvp6s (xiii. 42), and 
K6\affit cUdwiot (xxv. 46), are peculiar to ML It is remarkable that ir^curif 
and KoXdi^etv, both frequent in the LXX., occur only twice each in the N.T. 
And pdKe drb ffod is peculiar to Mt 


No doubt they can be abused; but so can life itself, and we 
may as well part with it at once, if everything that is capable of 
abuse must be sacrificed. Nevertheless, experience may prove 
to us that some of the blessings which God has placed within 
our reach are so perilous to us, and so often lead us into evil, 
that there is only one course open to us, if we are to be 
faithful to our calling, and that is, to give up such things 
altogether. But the decision must rest with ourselves, and 
be confined to ourselves. No one else can decide for us; 
and we have no right to impose the restrictions which we find 
necessary for ourselves upon others, or judge others for not 
adopting them. 

From these sayings respecting the subtle dangers of self- 
seduction the discourse returns to the leading thought of little 
children, and especially to that of the great guilt of leading 
children into sin. The *Take heed' or 'See* {hpSre) indicates 
the importance of the charge (comp. viii. 4, ix. 30, xvi. 6). We 
must not for a moment suppose that the misleading of an 
innocent child cannot be a very serious thing, — that a little 
child does not count Every single child counts, and it is well 
worth while to endeavour to keep even one such from being 
led astray. This teaching is further enforced with a reason, 
which is introduced with solemnity : * For I say to you, that in- 
heaven their Angels do always behold the fece of My Father 
which is in heaven.' That shows how precious each one of 
them is in God's sight; and what God values so highly man 
must not despise. 

Although it is certain that this is the tenour of the argument, 
it is not quite certain what the details of it mean. It appears to 
mean that the Angels which represent children are the Angels 
of the presence, t\e. the highest of all (Lk. i. 19 ; Tob. xii. 15). 
God has commissioned the most glorious of all His creatures to 
be sponsors for little children. It is not so clear that the saying 
implies that each child has a Guardian-Angel. The story of 
Tobit and Acts xii. 15 seem to show that a belief in a Guardian- 
Angel for each individual was current among the Jews, and here 
Christ may be sanctioning such a belief. But the purport of the 
saying is sufficiently intelligible, if we interpret it as meaning that 
the Angels which are the heavenly counterparts of chUdren 
always have ready access to God's presence.^ It is 'the little 
ones who believe in Me ' (6) that are specially under considera- 
tion. In them the qualities are most likely to be found which 
every Christian ought to reverence as reflexions of Christ Himself. 

^ The sayingi however, becomes unintelligible on the hypothesis that 
Christ knew that there are no such beings as Angels; see on ziiL 49 and 
xvi. 37. See Montefiore, p. 679. 


There is possibly an intimation that the Angels which protect children, or 
which represent them before God (if each human soul Aas a representative 
Angel), never lose the presence of God through the children's misconduct. 
The emphasis may be on 9(d rarr^. These innocent little ones never do 
anything that would put their representatives to shame before God. If this 
is so, then we may compare the Angels of the Churches in the Apocalypse ; 
for they seem to be beings who represent the Churches and are in some way 
responsible for the conduct of each Church (Rev. ii., iii.). In the Book of 
Jubilees (xzxv. 17) there appears to be a reference to the belief in representa- 
tive or guardian Angek ; and, if so, it is a very early reference. Isaac says 
to Rebecca : " Fear thou not on account of Jacob ; for the guardian of Jacob 
is great and powerful and honoured, and praised more thui the guardian of 
Esau." See J. H. Monlton on <It is his Angel' in the/wr. 0/ Th. St., 
July 1902, p. 514. D. B« Warfield holds that Mittle ones' means 'My 
disciples,' not children ; DCG,., art. ' Little Ones.' 

The whole of ver. 1 1, ' For the Son of Man came to save that which was 
lost ' is rightly omitted as an interpolation from Lk. xiz. la It is wanting 
in It B L and other important authorities, and is rejected by all editors. It 
was probably inserted to make an introduction to the parable of the Lost 
Sheep, which follows somewhat abruptly. But the insertion spoils rather 
than nelps the connexion between ver. xo and ver. 12. Christ has just been 
teaching how precious one child is in God*s sight ; and on that doctrine the 
parable follows very naturally. The saying about the Son of Man has some 
affinity with search for the lost sheep, but it does not help to connect this idea 
with that about little children. 

The connexion of the parable of the Lost Sheep (m, 13) 
with what precedes is that God cares for children and for child- 
like believers as a shepherd cares for his sheep. If one of them 
is lost, He will make every effort to recover it, and will rejoice 
greatly if He succeeds. If God takes so much trouble to recover 
a little one that has strayed, how grievous it must be to cause it 
to stray. Rather, every effort should be made to prevent it from 
straying. The parable is more beautifully drawn out in Lk. xv. 
3-7 than here, and the context there is more suitable. It is 
probable that in this chapter we have a number of Christ's 
sayings which Mt. has grouped together in a way of his own. 
The connecting thought in the first fourteen verses is that of 
little children. For the remainder of the chapter the connecting 
thought is the forgiveness of sins, a subject which is suggested 
by the parable of the Lost Sheep. The Evangelist sees that, 
while the owner's diligence in seeking for the one sheep that has 
strayed illustrates God's love for a single child, yet that is not 
the only lesson. The sheep that has so foolishly and wilfully 
strayed is not only recovered and restored to the flock, but 
rejoiced over, as if the recovery were a great gain ; and that 
illustrates God's great love in the forgiveness of sinners. We 
pass on, therefore, to a collection of sayings connected with this 
subject The way in which God deals with His erring sheep 
leads on to the way in which a man should deal with his erring 
brother. He should endeavour to seek and recover him who 


has gone astray (15). But, as there was a possibility that even 
the Divine Owner might fail in recovering His sheep, — *^so be 
that He find it,' — much more is there a possibility that a man 
may fail in regaining his offending brother. The will is left free 
in each case ; there is no compulsion, and the erring one may 
refuse to be won back. We are not told of the various methods 
which God tries, when the wanderer refuses to return ; they do 
not so much concern us ; but we know that there is a Divine 
perseverance in such things.^ 'Until He find it' is the expres- 
sion in Lk., without thought of ultimate failure. But we are 
told of the various methods to be adopted by a Christian, when 
a brother has sinned against him. First, private remonstrance 
and entreaty, with no one present but the offender and the 
offended. Then one or two more are to be present, who with 
the offended person will make up the two or three witnesses 
required by Deut xix. 1 5. Yet these are not witnesses of the 
original wrong-doing, but of the wronged person's attempts at 
reconciliation, and of the response which the wrong-doer makes 
to them. They will be able to certify that the one has honestly 
tried to bring the other to a better mind, and that the other has 
or has not yielded to his efforts.^ If this fails, the wronged 
person is to ' tell it to the Church ' (AcicXiyo-Mi). Evidently * the 
Church ' here cannot mean the Christian Church which Christ 
intends to build (zvi. 18}.' It means the Jewish assembly, and 
probably the local assembly, the elders and congregation of the 
synagogue in the place where the parties live (Hort, TTu 
Christian Eccksia, p. 10). The directions here given are applic- 
able to the Christian community, but, at the time, they must 
have been spoken of a community of Jews. 

It is assumed throughout that the injured person is making 
a genuine endeavour to reclaim his erring brother.' But, while 
it is one against one, the erring brother may suspect unfairness. 
He has far less reason for this when one or two more have heard 
the case. He has still less excuse for suspicion when the whole 
congregation are judges. All that is required is that he should 
own tibat he has done wrong and should ask forgiveness. 
Nothing is said about punishment But it is now clear that he 

' The change from the future (d^o-ei, ' will leave ') to the present {tiT^^t 
' goes on seeking') suggests the continuance of the effort (12). 

' Moreover they may help to persuade the erring brother to yield. Just as 
the expelled demon took other demons to help a work of ruin (zii. 45), so 
the injured person takes other members of the community to help a work of 
restoration [irapaiXafifidweip in both places). 

' In Syr-Sin. eKkkTjaUi is translated * synagogue.' Comp. the remarkable 
parallel to this in the Testaments : "If a man sin against thee, spade 
peaceably to him, and in thy soul hold no guile ; and if he repent and con- 
fess, forgive him" [Gadvu 3). 


does not wish to be reconciled.^ He will not do what every one 
else sees to be reasonable ; and he is now to be regarded as no 
true member of the congregation. The toll-collectors were 
regarded as virtually heathen and excommunicate, and this 
obstinately impenitent brother is henceforth to be treated as one 
of them (B. Weiss, Life of Christy iL p. 122). Intercourse with 
him would be contaminating, for he might lead others to be as 
impenitent and rebellious as himself; and as long as he maintains 
this attitude, he cannot be forgiven and restored. 

In what follows (18) we perhaps have the original form of 
xvi. 19. What was spoken to the Twelve collectively may have 
been adapted afterws^s to Peter as their leader. The meaning 
here seems to be that the decisions of the congregation, whether 
Jewish or Christian, are final. They have the authority to forbid 
and to allow, to refuse or to grant forgiveness. But it may be 
doubted whether the saying was originally spoken in its present 
context. Possibly it ought to be kept apart from what precedes 
(15-17), and perhaps also from what follows (19, 20).^ The 
Evangelist appears to be putting together, as one discourse, a 
number of utterances which have no connexion beyond a certain 
community of thought But we may follow his grouping without 
assuming that it is historically correct 

By his 'Again' (iroXtv) Mt couples the second 'I say unto 
you' (19) with the former one (18), and some texts (BlXn) 
read ' Again, verily I say unto you.' The connexion is that God 
is sure to ratify the decision of the congregation, for He hears 
the prayer of any two members of it But, out of the connexion 
in which Mt has placed it, tne lesson is that the smallest 
possible congregation is certain to be heard when it unites in 
prayer. Probably the contrast between 'on earth' and 'in 
heaven' has caused Mt to group w, 19, 20 with ver. x8. But 
the connexion between 92/. 19 and 20 is original and close. The 
prayers of two will be granted, because Christ is with them when 
they unite in prayer.* In the Oxyrhynchus Logia there is a 
saying which seems to be an echo of this passage : " Jesus saith, 
Wherever there are [two], they are not without God (itfeoi), and 

' For Tapoxoi^tr of 'refusing to comply' comp. Is. Ixv. 12 ; Esth. in. 3, 
8 ; Tob. iii. 4. In Mk. v. 36 Jesus ' refuses to attend ' to the message that 
the daughter of Jairus is dead. In the Testaments, the angry man ' refuses 
to attend ' to a Prophet of the Lord {Dan ii. 3). As to appealing to the 
congregation comp. "Judge not alone, for none may judge uone save One'' 
{Hrqe Aboth, iv. 12). 

' We must keep it apart from both, if we regard it as conferring special 
powers upon the Apostles, for ver. 17 refers to a congregation, Jewish or 
Christian, and ver. 19 refers to any two who unite in prayer. 

' D and Syr-Sin. give the saying negatively : oiK eUrhf 7d/» . . . rap' oft 
9dK el/d iw fUatp air&w. Comp. " When ten sit and are occupied in words 
of Thorah, the Shekinah is among them " {Pirfe AMA, iii. 9). 


wherever there is one alone, I say I am with him " ; comp. Eph. 
i. 23. Of course, the saying in Mt. does not mean that God is 
pledged to grant whatever any two persons agree to ask. His 
will is to grant what is best for them, and what two agree about 
is likely to be good, especially if Christ is with them. 

The Evangelist's interest in Peter is again conspicuous (x. 2, 
xiv. 28, 29, XV. 15, xvi. 18, 22, xvii. 4, 24). Peter's question 
goes back to ver. 15. The injured man who endeavours to 
reclaim his injurer must of course have forgiven him in hb 
heart: otherwise it would be hopeless to seek reconciliation. 
He goes, not for his own sake, to seek for reparation, but for 
the wrong-doer's sake, to win him back from evil. To the 
impetuous Peter that seems to be a difficult saying, and he 
desires explanation. Surely there are limits to this kind of 
forbearance. Is one to go on forgiving for ever ? Will not seven 
times be a generous allowance ? 

The man who asks such a question does not really know 
what forgiveness means. When an injury is forgiven, it is 
absolutely cancelled so far as the injured person is concerned. 
It is not to be kept in abeyance, to be reckoned against the 
offender, if he offends again. Christ's reply is to the effect that 
there must be no counting at all. Ten times the limit suggested 
by Peter will be far too little. Multiply that again by seven, and 
it will not be too much. The meaning is that there must be 
no limit^ The coincidence with Lamech's song in Gen. iv. 24 
is remarkable: 'If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly 
Lamech seventy and sevenfold.' Indeed, " a definite allusion to 
the Genesis story is highly probable: Jesus pointedly sets 
against the natural man's craving for seventy-sevenfold revenge 
the spiritual man's ambition to exercise the privilege of seventy- 
sevenfold [RV. marg.] forgiveness" (J. H. Moulton, Gr, of 
N,T. Grk, L p. 98). Comp. * Forgive thy neighbour the hurt 
that he hath done thee; and then thy sins shall be pardoned 
when thou prayest' (Ecclus. xxviii. 2). ^' When you might have 
vengeance do not repay either your neighbour or your enemy " 
(Secrets of Enoch, L 4). But Jewish tradition limited forgive- 
ness to three times. Amos i 3, 6, 9, etc., and Job xxxiiL 29 
were supposed to justify this limit If three transgressions filled 
up the measure that God might forgive, ought man to be more 
placable ? 

^ In Lk. zviL 4 this is expressed by ' seven times in a day.' Jerome {Adv, 
Pelag. iii. 2) preserves a fragment of the Gospel according to the Hebrews : 
" He saith, If thy brother nath sinned in word and hath made thee amends, 
seven times in a day receive him. Simon His disciple said to Him, Seven 
times in a day ? The Lord answered and said to him, I tell thee also, unto 
seventy times seven : for in the prophets ^Iso, after they were anoinfed by the 
Holy Spirit, a sinful word was found." 


It matters little whether the parable of the Unmerciful 
Servant was spoken immediately after the saying about ' seventy 
times seven,' or has been placed here by the Evangelist to 
illustrate that saying. The ' Therefore ' ($ta tovto) marks a close 
connexion with the saying. Because in the Kingdom the duty 
of forgiving is unlimited, therefore the Kingdom is like an 
earthly king, whose astounding generosity to a debtor laid that 
debtor under an obligation to show all possible consideration to 
others.^ The requirements of the Kingdom and the requirements 
of this king are similar. The disciples do not ask for any 
explanation, and the lesson to be drawn is manifest. The 
offences of any man against us are utterly trivial compared with 
our offences against God. He has forgiven us these, and He 
requires us to forgive our fellows. If we fail to skow forgiveness, 
His forgiveness of us cannot continue. 'For judgment is with- 
out mercy to him that hath showed no mercy' (Jas. ii. 13).^ 

The ' pence ' should be shillings or florins to represent the 
sum rightly. A denarius contained less silver than a shilling, 
but it would buy as much as two shillings will buy now. There- 
fore 100 denarii may represent ;£io. But a talent was equal to 
6000 denarii \ and the debt to God is represented as 10,000 
talents, a sum which in human life could hardly be owed to any 
one but a king, and to him only by a financial minister. We are 
perhaps to think of some great man who has farmed one of the 
taxes and become bankrupt. The king's order respecting him 
is not very diflerent from what was sanctioned by the Mosaic 
Law (Lev. xxv. 39, 47; 2 Kings iv. i). A man's wife and 
children were his property. The order is also in accordance 
with the idea that the whole of a man's family is responsible for 
his acts (Josh. vii.). The king's response to the debtor's entreaty 
is of the most munificent kind. The man merely asked to be 
left free to work off the debt. The king not only does not sell 
him into slavery, he cancels the whole debt, which could never 
have been discharged in full. 

Why is the debt to God represented as so enormous ? Partly 
as a true contrast to ofiences between man and man, and partly 
because every sin is an act of rebellion, and thus small acts, 
which attract little or no attention, may be great sins. Moreover, 
they accumulate ; and no one can tell what the total amount in 
his own case may be. And it is here that the analogy of the 

' With fi^ fx<*^^^ ^^ airov aToSowai comp. Mk. xlv. 8 ; Lk. xii. 4, xiv. 
14 ; Acts iv. 14 ; Heb. vi. 13. In such expressions ^a» hardly differs from 
dvwafjuu, and this use is specially common in conneidon with payment of 
money. Field, O/t'um Norvic, iii. p. 10. 

• Comp. Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice^ Act IV. sc. I. Portia : 

"Therefore, Jew, 
Though justice be thy plea," etc 

aa-a5] the ministry in or near galilee 257 

whole family being threatened with slavery to pay the father's 
debt comes in. A man cannot confine the consequences of his 
sin to himself. Even those who have had no share in his guilt 
will be involved in the misery which it produces : besides which, 
there is the evil effect which his vitiated character will insensibly 
have upoa others. 

In his passionate appeal for forbearance, the king's debtor 
promises to pay all in time, a promise unlikely to be fulfilled. 
The fellow-servant merely promises to pay. In his fury, the 
creditor injures himself in order to take vengeance. By im- 
prisoning his debtor he made it almost impossible for him to 
pay. And now, for the first time, we are told that the king was 
angry, and this is the main lesson of the parable.^ An unfor- 
giving spirit is sure to provoke the anger of God ; so much so, 
that His free forgiveness of sinners ceases to flow to them, when 
in this way they offend. So to speak, it revives the guilt of their 
otherwise forgiven sins. This is a truth of tremendous import, 
and we may be thankful that this Evangelist has preserved for us 
a parable which teaches the truth so plainly. For we are not 
apt to think of what seems to be a merely negative quality, — the 
absence of a forgiving temper, as a fatal sin. There are many 
sins which we rightly regard as heinous, — breaches of the sixth, 
or seventh, or eighth commandment. But we are not accustomed 
to think that to treasure up the recollection of injuries which 
we think that we have received from others may be a sin that ifi 
greater than any of these. It is those that are most conscious 
of the incalculable amount that God has foi^iven them, who are 
readiest to forgive all, and more than all the injuries that any 
man can inflict upon them. ' Let all bitterness and wrath and 
anger be put away from you, with all malice ; and be ye kind 
one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as 
God in Christ hath forgiven you' (Eph. iv. 31, 32). 

We do not know whether it was the feeling which had 
been generated in some of the Twelve by the dispute as to 
which was the greatest that called forth this impressive parable. 
But the teaching which it embodies was not new to them. 
We gather that it had already been set forth to the multitudes, 
for it appears in two places in the material which forms the 
Sermon on the Mount (v. 23-26, vi. 14, 15). And in Mk. 
we have it among the last instructions during the Holy Week 
(xi. 25). The love that forgives is as necessary as the faith that 
prays. See Montefiore, p. 685. 

' ' The tormentors ' is part of the literary detail in the story, and we must 
not interpret the detail and draw conclusions from it. A king of flesh and 
blood (dy(?/Kinro$ paaCKti^) might act in this way ; but we should not attribute 
parallel action to God. Comp. the interpolation Ecclus. J»xiii. a6. 



The statement that dfeOdj, * debt/ is a word found " only in N.T. Greek " 
(Mt xviiL 32 ; Rom. ziiL 7 ; i Cor. vii. 3) has been disproved by the papyri. 
Deissmann gives instances, Biblical Studies^ p. 221. He has also given good 
reasons for abandoning sudi an expression as '' N.T. Greek " : Tke Philology 
tf the Gruk BibU^ pp. 65, 134, 135; New Light on the New Testament^ 
pp. 30fil 

Characteristic expresaonsin ch. zviii. : igtUni &pa (i), wpovifx^soBai (i, 21), 
6 rar^ft b ir rois oipopoit (10, 14, 19), rl li&f SoKei; (12), wapedte^tu (la), 
awdyetw (ao), t6t9 (21), rpoa^petw (24), ^&r9ov\os (28, 29, 31, 33). Peculiar : 
ii fioffiXela r(aw odpopQw {i, 3, 4, 23), rdXarrw (24), i rarifp 6 idpdwtos (35), 
ffwalftiw (23, 24), Keeraw9rrl^€<r$ai (6 and ziv. 30 only), t6 wOp r6 aUina^ 
(8 and xv. 41 only), 4 y4€ppa toO rvp&t (10 and v. 22 only) ; peculiar to this 
chapter: ipSofitiKwrdxit (22), ddwiow (27), poffowiffr^ (34). The verb 
drodid^ac is frequent in the N.T., but it is specially common in Mt. as 
compared with other Gospeb; in Ml 18 times, m Mk. once, in Lk. 8 times, 
in Jn. never. In this chapter it is frequent (25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 34). The 
phrase cwaipeiw \6yow (23, xxv. 19) has been thought to be a Latinism, 
ratumem conferre, 'compare accounts.' Zahn quotes a FayOm papyrus 
(Grenfell, Hunt, Hogarth, p. 261, No. 109, 6), ow^^/icu 3l6yor rf rar/rf. 


For a moment the three Synoptists are onoe more together. 
Mt xiz. I, 2 = Mk. X. I, and side by side with these we may 
place Lk. xvii. 11. The Third and Fourth Gospels give a great 
deal of material which belongs to this period of Christ's Ministry. 
But the so-called "Persan section'' m Lk. (ix. 51-xix. 28) 
contains a good deal of material which evidently belongs to an 
earlier period, and we do not know enough about the details to 
say how his narrative is to be fitted into that of Jn., who, with 
great vividness, in chs. vii.-xi, tells a great deal that illuminates 
the whole situation, especially with regard to the circumstances 
which made the rejection of Jesus by the nation, and His death 
at the hands of the hierarchy, certain. Even without supernatural 
foresight, it might have been possible to see that, so &r as 
immediate success was concerned, the mission of Jesus to His 
countrymen would fail, and that the only thing which could save 
Him from a violent catastrophe was flight But it was impossible 
for Him to fly. He knew the Scriptures, especially those con- 
cerning Himself (Lk. xxiv. 27), as no one else knew them. He 
knew that the Messiah must suffer in order to reign, and must 
conquer by dying. The Scriptures must be fulfill^ which was 
only another way of saying that the will of God must be done. 

l*he opening words of this chapter are peculiar to Mt (see 
on viL 28). After concluding a group of Christ's sayings, he 
commonly passes on to the next subject with the formula * when 
He finished these words' (vii. 28, xi. i, xiii. 53, xxvi. i), and 
here he alone expressly states that Jesus ' departed from Galilee, 


although it is implied in the other narratiyes.^ It is His last 
departure from Galilee. Until after the Resurrection Christ does 
not visit it again. He crosses the Jordan, and in this more remote 
region, where He was less well known. He resumed His work of 
teaching and healing. Mk. says that He taught, Mt that He 
healed.^ The multitudes had reassembled, and He did not send 
them empty away. Mt. perhaps thought that it was more neces- 
sary to record that Jesus healed than that He taught; the latter 
might be assumed. What follows in these two chapters (xix., xz.) 
is evidence of the teaching, especially of the training of the 

XTX 8-li3. The Question of Divorce. 

The Pharisees are now Christ's determined enemies, bent 
upon His destruction; and they come to Him once more to 
endeavour to make Him commit Himself in some fatal way. It 
was known that He condemned divorce (v. 31, 32), and thus 
seemed to put Himself into opposition with the Mosaic Law, 
which allowed it (Deut. xxiv. i) ; here, therefore, was a field in 
which it was likely that they might obtain material for fruitful 
charges against Him. We must study Mk. x. 2-12, if we wish 
for a clear and consistent account of Christ's teaching respecting 
divorce. All Jews held that divorce was allowable; the only 
question was, for whc^ 'unseemly thing'? The stricter Jews 
said that vmchastity on the wife's part justified divorce ; the less 
strict said that mere dislike sufficed. According to Mk. and Lk., 
Christ forbade divorce altogether. The permission to divorce a 
wife for grave misconduct was conceded by Moses because of 
the low condition of society in his time ; but now men ought to 
return to the primeval priQciple that marriage is indissoluble.' 
According to Mt, both here and in v. 31, 32, Christ agreed 
with the stricter Jews ; an unchaste wife might be divorced, and 
the husband might marry again. It has been shown in the 
comments on v. 31, 32 that it is improbable that Jesus taught 
this ; and we may suspect that both ' for every cause ' (3) and 
'except for fornication' (9) are insertions made either by the 
Evangelist or in the authority which he is using in addition to 

^ ' Jndsea ' here seems to be used in the wider sense of Palestine, the land 
of the Jews; oomp. zxiy. 16. 

* In ziv. 14= Mk. vi. 34 Mt. makes this change in Mk.'s narrative ; and 
in xxi. 15 he does much the same, for there ' the wonderful things that He 
did ' takes the place of ' His teaching ' (Mk. xi. 18). On the insertion ' there ' 
(^/ce?) see on xxvii. 47. 

' "The word {^(TKKt\poKo^l\a,) denotes the rude nature which belongs to a 
primitive civilization. This principle of accommodation to the time in Scrip- 
ture is of inestimable importance, and of course limits finally the absoluteness 
of its authority. We find that the writers were subject to this limitation, 
as well as their readers '' (Gould on Mk. x. 5). 


Mk. Whoever inserted the words would think that they must 
have been meant, and that therefore it was right to make the 
meaning perfectly clear. The remark of the disciples (lo) con- 
firms the view that Christ forbade divorce, even in the case of the 
wife's unchastity. If that was His tlecision, their remark is 
intelligible. It would then mean that marriage is a dangerous 
condition, if a man cannot free himself from an adulterous wife. 
But, if He taught that the divorce of an adulterous wife was 
allowable, then their remark would mean that marriage is a hard 
lot, if a man may not get rid of a wife whom he dislikes ; and it 
is hardly likely that they can have meant this. After being 
Christ's disciples so long, they would not hold that what even 
Jews of the stricter school of Shammai maintained respecting the 
marriage-tie was an intolerable obligation. See Allen, p. 205 ; 
Salmon, p. 394 ; Montefiore> p. 69 1» 

Christ's argument for the indissoluble character of the original 
institution of marriage is that at the Creation God made one man 
and one woman, each for the other. He did not make more 
women than men, so as to provide for divorce. On the contrary, 
He created a relation between man and wife more intimate and 
binding than even that between parent and child. The 'and 
said' which Mt (5) introduces between the two quotations from 
Genesis is not in Mk. (x. 6, 7), and is incorrect In Gen. iu 24, 
' For this cause shall a man leave,' etc., are the words of Adam, 
not of the Almighty. With the conclusion, * What therefore God 
hath joined together, let not man put asunder,' the discussion 
with the Pharisees is closed. Christ then retired into * the house,' 
and there the disciples renewed the discussion. This break in 
the conversation is obscured in Mt, who, as usual (ix. i, xv. 15, 
21, xvii. 19), omits the detail about going indoors, and here 
makes ver. 9 part of the address to the Pharisees, whereas in 
Mk. it is said privately to the disciples.^ 

There is no parallel in Mk. or Lk. to the remarkable passage 
respecting celibacy (10-12), and we have no means of knowing 
the source of it It does not seem to belong to the context in 
which Mt. has placed it ; for it appears strange that oiur Lord, 
after pointing out that marriage was ordained by God for the 
human race from the very first, and that man ought not to sever 
a tie ordained by God, should at once go on to admit that, after 

1 Instead of, ' And if she herself shall put away her husband, and marry 
another, she committeth adultery,' Mt. has, 'And he that marrieth her when 
she is put away committeth adultery.' Mt. may have made this change be- 
cause there was no provision in the Jewish law for a wife to divorce her 
husband (Josephus, Ant, xv. viL 10). But koX 6 droSeXv/tdwifp y^fi^at 
fiotxoreu is omitted in K D L and other important witnesses ; it may come 
from V. 32. See Wright, Synopsis, p. 99; E. Lyttelton, /r^". , July, 1904 
p. 6a I. ' 


all, those who can do without it should avoid marriage^ Never- 
theless, it may be that He thought it well to justify His own 
example and that of the Baptist Marriage was instituted by 
God for the good of mankinc^ and is open to all. But no one 
is obliged to marry, and there are some who believe that they 
can live more spiritual lives by remaining single. 

If we may assume that w, 11, 12 were uttered in reply to the 
disciples' remark in ver. 10, then 'All do not receive this saying' 
probably means that it is not given to every one to see that it is 
not good to marry, *this saying' referring to the remark of the 
disciples. This is more probable than a reference to Christ s 
saying that marriage ought to be regarded as indissoluble. The 
passage must be compared with our Lord's declaration that His 
disciples must be ready, if the call should come, to part with 
everything that they possess, even with life itself, for His sake. 

ZIX. 18-15. Tke Blessing of the Little Children. 

Mt. follows Mk. in placing this incident between the 
discussion about marriage and the story of the rich young man, 
and Lk. so far agrees with Mk. in placing the incident 
immediately before that of the rich young man. It took place 
in the house, for it was ' as He was going forth into the way ' 
(Mk. X. 17) that the rich young man came to Him. As Salmon 
conjectures (p. 395), the children brought to Him may have 
been the children of the house. On the previous occasion 
(xviii. 2), when He took a child as an object-lesson, this took 
place 'in the house' at Capernaum; and it is unlikely that a 
child had to be sent for from the outside. Here also we may 
imagine that the children of the house '' were brought to Him to 
say good-night, and receive His blessing before being sent to 
bed." But Lk. (xviii. 15) seems to have understood the matter 
otherwise: 'And they brought unto Him also their babes.' 
Both Mk. and Lk. say that the children were brought ' that He 
should touch them.' ^ Mt is much more full : ' that He should 
lay His hands on them and pray'; and this is a reasonable 
inference from the fact that He did lay His hands on them and 
bless them (Mk. x. 16). 

Jesus so frequently laid His hands on those whom He 
healed, that the parents naturally thought that it would be an 
advantage to their children to have them touched by the great 
Healer. To the disciples this seemed intolerable. They knew 
how His time was invaded and His physical strength taxed by 
the numbers that were brought to Him to be cured of their 

^ The verb Tpwr^ptiv is frequent of bringing the sick to Christ : iv. 24, 
nil. 16, is. 2, etc. Mk. has it here (z. 13). 


ailments. And here people were bringing to Him children that 
were perfectly well, and asking Him to touch them. Such 
demands upon Him were quite unreasonable. Moreover, how 
was He to continue His instructions to themselves, if He was 
interrupted in this wayp^ 

Mk. says that our Lord 'was indignant' {7iyavdKTyf<r€y) at 
this remonstrance on the part of His disciples. The expression 
is nowhere else used of Him, and it is evidence of the depth 
of His displeasure at seeing His own disciples trying to keep 
little children from Him. Mt., as usual (xii. 13, xiiL 58, 
xvi. 4), omits the record of human emotion on the part of 
Christ. 'Cease to forbid them' (jiri KioXurre) is in all three. 
So also is ' of such ' (rocovrcoK, not rovrtav). Not those particular 
children, nor all children, but those who are childlike in 
character, are possessors of the Kingdom : ^ it specially belongs 
to them. The genitive is possessive, as in 'theirs is the 
Kingdom of Heaven' (v. 3, 10), a point which is inadequately 
expressed by ' of such.' ' To such belongs the Kingdom ' would 
be better. How shocking, therefore, to try to prevent them 
from approaching the King ! Mt. has already (xviii. 3) inserted 
the equivalent of ' Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of 
God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein,' and he 
therefore omits the words here ; and having just stated that the 
children were brought to Christ that He might pray over them 
(13), he omits (what Mk. alone records) that 'He took them 
in His arms and blessed them.' "This beautiful scene calls for 
reflection and imagination rather than for discussion" (Burton 
and Mathews, p. 209). The whole incident is another illustration 
of the candour of the Evangelists in recording what is to the 
discredit of the disciples. Our confidence in the general trust- 
worthiness of their evidence^ is thus confirmed. The practical 
importance of this exquisite enforcement of the principle that the 
Kingdom has little children among its worthiest possessors is 
incalculable. See Tertullian, De Bapt 18, with Lupton's notes. 

XTX. 16-80. The Rich Young Man. 

It is possible that the order of the three subjects, Marriage, 
Little Children, and Wealth, is chronologically correct : the 
three incidents were connected in time and place, and they 
followed one another in the way in which they have been 
recorded. But the grouping may be artificial. In that case 

' This remonstrance of the disciples is against the view that it was only 
the children of the house cominf to say good-night. 

* As Jerome says : ' ttUium^ut ostewUret non mtaUm ragman std wtores, 
' Turn and become ' (orpa^^c jcoi yi^n^Bt) is in Mt. only. 


it was natural to take the teaching about children after the 
teaching about marriage, and that leaves the subject of riches 
to come last, which is also its right place in logical order. 
There is, however, yet another point of connexion between the 
teaching respecting children and the teaching respecting wealth. 
They supplement one another. The children, like the toll- 
collector in the parable, were nearer the Kingdom than they 
could suppose themselves to be. The rich man, like the 
Pharisee, was farther from it than he supposed himself to be. 
In the preference shown to the children, those who could not 
be harmed by being exalted were exalted ; in the humiliation of 
the rich man, one who could be benefited by being abased was 

The subject of this narrative is often called "the rich young 
ruler." Lk. alone says that he was a ' ruler ' {apx^ I ^^' &lone 
suggests that he was 'young' {vtavUrKo^). We do not know 
what Lk. means by 3ipx<iiv, It may be an inference from his 
great wealth, that he was a leading man in society. Mt., who 
omits * from my youth ' after * All these things have I observed,* 
may merely have substituted ' the young man ' (6 vtavCaKos) for 
'from my youth' {Ik veon/ros fMv): for it is in this verse (20), 
and not at the outset, that he calls him 'the young man.'^ 
But the man's action in running up and kneeling to Jesus (Mk.) 
indicates youthful eagerness, and his behaviour throughout 
harmonizes well with the common view that he was young. 

In this narrative we have for the first time the expression 
'eternal life' ({^on; alwvios), which is far more frequent in Jn. 
than in the Synoptists. See Dalman, Words^ p. 156. 

As Mt. omitted Christ's entering into the house after the 
discussion on divorce with the Pharisees, he here omits that 
' He was going forth into the way ' when the rich man came to 
Him. This is of small moment ; but in what follows we have 
one of the most remarkable of Mt's divergences from the 
narrative of Mk. The fact that Mk. is here supported by Lk. 
may mean no more than that Lk. copied Mk., but even that 
shows that, at any rate, Lk. knew of no reason for differing from 
Mk. And, judged on its own merits, the narrative of Mk. has 
the appearance of being original, while the differences in Mt 
look like deliberate alterations. On the one hand we have: 
' Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life ? 
And Jesus said to him. Why callest thou Me good ? None is 
good save one, even God' (Mk., Lk.). This is quite simple and 
intelligible. We have a natural form of address, a naturally 

^ It is, however, to be noted that P€awlaK<n is not necessarily a lad ; a 
man of 30 or 35 might be so called. Therefore a wmwUrxot might say ' firom 
my youth ' without absurdity. 


worded question, and an answer which exactly fits the form of 
address. On the other hand we have: 'Master, what good 
thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said 
to him, Why askest thou Me concerning that which is good? 
One there is who is good' (Mt.). Here the epithet 'good' has 
been transfenred from the address, where it is in place, to the 
question, where it is superfluous. Of course, any action that 
could win eternal life must be a good action. Moreover, the 
reply does not fit the question, although 'good' has been 
inserted into the question in order to prepare for the reply. 
The rich man had not asked about good in the abstract, and 
'One there is who is good' is irrelevant. To say that God 
alone is good is much to the point, when some one else has 
been called good ; but the statement is out of place, when this 
has not been done, but merely a question has been asked about 
the good conduct which wins eternal life. 

JustiD Martyr twice quotes the passage, with variations from both 
Gospels and from himself. " When one came to Him and said, Good 
Master, He answered saying, None is good but God alone who made all 
things" {ApoL i, 16); and again: ''When one was saying; to Him, Good 
Master, He answered, Why callest thou Me good? One is good, even My 
Father which is in heaven" {TVy. loi). In the Clementine Homilies we 
have : " Do not call Me good, for one is good, even the Father in heaven" 
(xviii. 3). And this addition of 'the Father in heaven' is found also in 
Irenaeus, of the Marcosans (i. xz. 2). But the form of question, ' Master, 
what good thing shall I do ? ' is found in a fragment of the Gospel according 
to die Hebrews quoted by a Latin translator of Origen's Commentary on 
Matthew. The opening words of the fragment would lead one to suppose 
that in this Gospel two rich men approtuihed our Lord on this occasion. 
" The 0/^ of the rich men said to Him, Master what good thing shall I 
do and live? {Dixit ad eum alter divitum, Magister^ msid bonum faciens 
vivam ?) He said to him, Man, perform the Law and the Prophets (comp. 
Mt. vii. 12, zzii. 40). He answered Him, I have performed them. He 
said to him. Go, sell all that thou hast and distribute to the poor, and come, 
follow Me. But the rich man liegan to scratch his head, and it pleased him 
not And the Lord said to him, How safest thou, I haveperformed the 
Law and the Prophets, seeing that it is written in the Law, Thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself, and behold many of thy brethren, sons of Abraham, 
are clad with dung, dying of hunger, and thy house is full of many good 
things, and there goeth not out at all an]^thing from it to them. And He 
turned and said to Simon His disciple, sitting by Him, Simon son of John, 
it is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich 
man into the Kingdom of heaven." See Camb, Bibl, Ess, p. 191. 

These are not the only reasons for believing that Mk., who 
is certainly prior to Mt., has here got the original narrative, 
from which Mt. has intentionally diverged* It is quite easy to 
see why Mt has made these alterations. He could not bring 
himself to record that Jesus said, * Why callest thou Me good ? 

1 Somewhat illogically he has left eft and dya^^ unchanged ; it should 
be Ir and ^yaO^ : * one thing is good.' 


None is good save one, even God.' We have seen how readily 
he omits anything which seems to detract from the Divine 
nature of the Messiah, such as His asking for information or 
exhibiting human emotion, and how he loves to emphasize the 
wonderfid features in His mighty works. Such a writer would 
feel that our Lord's reply, as recorded by Mk., was likely to 
mislead, and was not likely to be correctly worded ; he therefore 
substitutes what seems to him to be more probable. It is less 
easy to see why Mt has dropped the common expression 
' inherit eternal life ' for the less figurative ' have eternal life.' 

The divergencies of Mt. from Mk. have caused much coniiision in the 
text. In later authorities the text of Mt. has been in various ways 
assimilated to that of Mk. See WH. ii. App. pp. 14, 15; Salmon, Tk€ 
Human Ekttunt^ pp. 398-403. 

The explanation of * Why callest thou Me good ? None is J 
good save one, even God ' belongs to the commentator on Mk. 
(see Swete). Suffice to say here that Jesus was neither 
questioning His own sinlessness, nor intimating that the rich 
man ought not to call Him good unless he recognized Him as 
Divine. The rich man could not have appreciated either of 
these points. Rather, He turns his thoughts from his own 
inadequate standard of what may win eternal life to the standard 
of the Divine Goodness. Not any one act, however supremely 
excellent, can secure eternal life, but only excellence of 
character.^ As the most generally known summary of what that 
character should be, Jesus refers him to the commandments, in 
which God has revealed His will. This last point is more 
clearly brought out in Mt. than in Mk. ' If thou wilt enter into 
life, keep the commandments.' Mt. alone represents the man 
as needing to ask, 'What kind (irotas) of commandments ?' ' 
And he alone makes him ask, 'What lack I yet?' It almost 
looks as if Mt had formed an unfavourable opinion of the rich 
man, and that this colours his narrative. 

Mt. agrees with Mk. as to the order of the commandments, 
which is that familiar to ourselves: 'Thou shalt not kill. Thou 
shalt not commit adultery.' But Lk., in agreement with Cod. 
B in Deut v. 17, reverses this order, as aJso does S. Paul in 
Rom. xiii. 9 (also the Nash Papyrus); and both Philo {De 

^ The rich man is at the old legal standpoint, that he has to do some- 
thing, not that he has to be something. Yet it is a step in advance that he 
recognizes that mere abstention from transgression is not enough. 

' Perhaps he expected some new commandments of special requirements. 
But it is not certain that Toia.% here has its full force : it perhaps no 
more than 'Which?' See Blass, p. 172. In 'What lack 1 yet?* ijiitn 
i^drepw;) Mt. transfers to the rich man Christ's 'One thing tiiou lackest 


Decaiogo^ 24 and 2) and Tertullian {De Pudic, 5) base an 
argument on the fact that adultery is forbidden before murder 
is forbidden. S. James (ii. 11) seems also to have had this 
order.^ That Lk. should agree with S. Paul in such a matter 
is not surprising. All three accounts represent our Lord as 
placing the fifth commandment last This may be for the 
sake of emphasis, because it had been so habitually evaded by 
the device of Corban (xv. 4, 5). This rich man had no doubt 
previously consulted the official teachers upon the question 
which he put to Jesus, and had evidently not been satisfied 
with their answers. Of course, they would insist on the ten 
commandments as the rule of life, and Jesus in doing the same 
reminds him of the paramount importance of the duty to parents. 

Mt here makes a surprising addition to the quotations 
from the decalogue : 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself'; 
an addition which is wantmg both in Mk. and Lk. Mt. has it 
again, xxiL 39 » Mk. xii. 31 «- Lk. x. 27, where Christ gives 
it as a summary of the second table of the commandments. 
It comes from Lev. xix. 18; comp. Mt vii. 12. It is not 
likely that it was spoken on this occasion. The rich man, 
though superficial and self-seeking in his desire to obtain 
eternal life, is really in earnest about himself; and if Christ 
had added, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself' he 
would hardly have replied so readily, 'All these have I 
observed.' He could say that quite honestly with regard to 
the letter of the five commandments which Jesus had quoted. 

Was he relieved that Christ required no more from him 
than these familiar duties? Or was he disappointed that 
Jesus had nothing more inspiring to give him than what he 
had often heard from the Scribes? Perhaps he expected, and 
even hoped, to be told of some difficult task which his great 
wealth would enable him to accomplish. Even if he never 
said, ' What lack I yet ?,' ^ his statement about his past amounts 
to an invitation to Christ to say something more. Is one who 
keeps the commandments sure of eternal life ? And our Lord 
at once responds to the invitation. He neither confirms nor 
contradicts the man's estimate of his past life. Granting that 
it is all true, there is still something wanting, — freedom hom the 
fascinations of 'the deceitfulness of riches' (xiii. 22). Can he 
liberate himself from these toils? 

Both Mt (see above on ver. 14) and Lk. omit the intensely 

^ As to the form of the prohibitions, Lk. agrees with Mk. in having /t^ 
^wtvrjp, jcr.X., while Mt. follows the Septuagint in Exod. xz. and Deut. ▼• 
in having 06 0orev(re(t, ir.r.X. Mt commonly assimilates the quotations in 
Mk. to tike Septuagint. See Swete, Introduction to the Setiuagtnt^ p. 234. 

* In Mk. X. 21 it is Christ who says to him, 'One thing thou lackest' 
(^F 99 (wTtptt) ; in Lk. xviii. 22, in Jh aoi Xfirsi. 


interesting statement of Mk. that 'Jesus looking upon him 
loved him.'^ The look was a penetrating look, recognizing in 
the man much that was good and lovable along with much 
that was otherwise,* and the record of it is the touch of an 
eye-witness. It comes from one who -knew from personal 
experience how penetrating a look from Christ could be 
(Lk. xxii. 61); and the same compound verb (ifipXiir€i.v) is 
used both there and here. Jesus sees enough in the rich 
man's character to make Him yearn to have him as a per- 
manent disciple. Here was a conscientious observer of the 
Law, who, nevertheless, was not quite satisfied with himself, 
and who at times had misgivings that he was not doing all 
that God required of him. Would he be equal to doing what 
would be necessary, if he was to become a follower of Christ? 

Mt, having anticipated, ' One thing thou lackest,' substitutes 
for it 'If thou wouldest be perfect'; but in what follows the 
three reports agree (21). There are two parts in the reply 
given to the man : one to sell and give to the poor, the other 
to follow Christ ; and the one is preparatory to the other. The 
first is the direct answer to the man's question, ' What must I 
do to inherit eternal life ? ' This is manifest from the promise, 
*and thou shalt have treasure in heaven,' which evidently refers 
to inheriting eternal life. When the man has freed himself from 
the ties which bind him to earth, he will have entered the 
narrow gate and the straitened way which lead unto life (vii. 14), 
and will be ready to follow the * Good Master.' 

How are we to regard this charge to sell everything and 
give to the poor? Was it a mere test for that particular 
questioner, to see whether he was equal to the good report 
which he had given of himself? Was it a ru/g for him and for 
all who would live the highest life? a so-called 'counsel of 
perfection'? Was it simply a condescension to the man's own 
point of view? He wanted to do some heroic act to secure 
eternal life : let him give all his riches to the poor. It is quite 
certain that our Lord could not have meant that either he or 
any one else can win eternal life by any such act. Our Lord 
does not promise him that He tells him that in heaven he 
shall have treasure to compensate for what he has sacrificed in 
this world, but He does not say that the sacrifice will secure 
admission to heaven.^ The charge to make the sacrifice was 
the medicine which the man's soul required. He had too 

^ Other points in which Mt and Lk. agree against Mk. are in the 
omission of ' Do not defraud,' and in the sutetitution of ' heard ' (djcovo-ar) 
for ' his countenance fell ' (oTtryi'dirat). 

*Comp. 'Bestow thy treasure according to the commandments of the 
Most Hign» and it shall profit thee more than gold' (Ecclus. xziz. 11). 


much attachment to wealth and the things which wealth can 
buy, and he had too little sympathy with the poor. The hard, 
self-denying life of a follower of Jesus was the bracing that 
was needed to make a really noble character. Hitherto his 
virtues had been negative rather than positive. He had been 
free from gross sins, but he had had no lofty ideal To live 
with Jesus Christ, and learn of Him, would be the best cure 
for that, and would lead to eternal life. 

We must not overlook the fact, however, that the Lord's 
last word to him was not a charge, but an invitation : ' Come, 
Follow Me.' We may reverently believe that the man's own 
good was not the sole motive for Christ's treatment of him. 
Jesus really wanted him. He saw in him the making of another 
Apostle, a Barnabas, if not a Paul ; and He longed to have 
the strengthening of this lovable, but weak cha^cter. For 
His own sake, as well as for the man's, He gave him that 
affectionate look and asked him to come. 

*He went away sorrowful' (Xvttov/acvosV because of the 
greatness of the demand, perhaps also because of the weakness 
of his own will. He had not expected so stem a reply, and 
he had not expected to be unequal to anything that the Good 
Teacher would require. But we are not told that he was 
indignant, or made any angry reply. He went back to the 
wealth which had not satisfied him before, and which would 
satisfy him still less now; and perhaps the good seed was in 
the end not wholly choked by the deceitfulness of riches. 

"The self-sacrifice which the Lord imposed on this wealthy 
enquirer asserts in principle the duty of the rich to minister 
to the poor ; the particular form which this ministry must take 
varies with the social conditions of the age" (Swete). In this 
age experience has taught us that giving money or food or 
clothing to the poor often does more harm than good; but 
that fact does not justify the comfortable doctrine that those 
who have wealth may keep it to spend upon themselves. It 
is still as true as ever it was that the way to eternal life is self- 
sacrifice, and that readiness for complete surrender is the one 
condition of true discipleship. Disciples who may come upon 
their own terms (viiL 21) are easily won, and easily lost. If 
Christ had lowered the terms for the sake of gaining this man 
and his wealth, He might for a time have had one more 
enthusiastic follower, with the risk of having later a second Judas.' 

^ Comp. dKo6ffat ravra iXmrifBri [Simeon ii. lo). 

* The treatise known as PVAo is the Rich Man that is saved? {rlt h 
v»^6iuvoi tXovoyos ;), by Clement of Alexandria, is commended as an excel- 
lent patristic exposition of the teaching conveyed by this incident in reference 
to the problems of modem life. It is "simple, eloquent, and just'^ 
(Wcstcott). See Swete, Patristic Study^ p. 49. 


All three Evangelists record certain comments which our 
Lord made upon the nJ^h man's refusal to comply with His 
counsel: and here again the deviations of Mt. (23-30) from 
Mk. (x. 33-31) are of great interest Mt both abbreviates and 
augments Mk. In his chief omission he is followed by Lk., 
but not in his chief insertion (28). The chief omission is the 
disciples' amazement at Christ's words (about the difficulty for 
a rich man to enter the Kingdom) and His reply to their 
amazement : ' Children, how hard is it [for them that trust in 
riches] to enter into the Kingdom of God ' (Mk. x. 24). The 
words in brackets are probably an early insertion, as the evidence 
of M B and other witnesses shows, and it is not probable that 
our Lord uttered them. They do not give the right kind of 
explanation of the hard sayings. What is needed, if trusting 
in riches is to be mentioned, is of this kind : ' How hard is it 
for those who have riches not to trust in their riches ; and ye 
cannot trust in God and in Mammon.' It is impossible for 
those who trust in riches to enter the Kingdom. The saying 
without the words in brackets gives a much more probable 
explanation. It is hard for any one to enter the Kingdom 
(vii. 13, 14), and therefore specially hard for the rich. That 
Mt knew of this second statement of the case is shown by the 
^ again,' which comes from Mk. 

Both the 'camel' and the 'needle's eye' are to be under- 
stood literally. ''To contrast the largest beast of burden known 
in Palestine with the smallest of artificial apertures is quite in 
the manner of Christ's proverbial sayings" (Swete). Comp. 
'Strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.' It is not necessary 
to suggest that 'camel' may mean a rope, or that the 'needle's 
eye ' was a name sometimes given to a small side-gate for foot- 
passengers.^ Shakespeare combines the two ideas : — 

*'It is as hard to come, as for a camel 
To thread the postern of a small needle's eye." 

Richard u,^ v. ▼. 16, 17. 

But he is taking the needle's eye literally, as we may believe 
that Christ did. 

Here Mt follows Mk. in recording the astonishment of the 
disciples (25). 'Who then can be saved,' if rich men cannot? 
Possibly the Twelve still had the belief that earthly prosperity 
is a sign of piety, for God has promised to bless the substance 
of the religious man. But, in any case, experience had taught 
them that nearly all men either possess wealth or strive to possess 
it. If, therefore, to be wealthy is to be excluded from the 
Kingdom, who can be saved ? 

' No ancient expositor adopts this method of explanation. 



Once more we have Christ's penetrating look (l/i^8A^as), 
which this time Mt does not omit (25). Man cannot, but 
God can, break the spell which wealth exercises over the 
wealthy. He had done it in Matthew's case; He would do 
it in that of Zacchseus (Lk. xix. i-io). May we believe that 
the rich young man was lingering near enough to hear this, — 
that though he could not free himself, yet God might still free 
him ? It is possible that these comments of Christ were partly 
meant for him. His great mistake had been in supposing that 
he could with his own powers do what was required to gain 
eternal life. Peter characteristically takes up the conversation 
on behalf of the Twelve. He would like to be sure that what 
God alone can do has been done in their case. They left all 
that they possessed, and followed Him; are they on the road 
to the Kingdom? He asks no question, but his statement 
evidently invites a reply* and Mt interprets it as asking, 'What 
then shall we get?* ^ 

In the reply to this Mt makes his chief addition to the 
report in Mk. 'Ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration 
when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye 
also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of 
Israel.' Lk. has no such words here, but has a similar saying 
xxii. 30.^ The meaning in both places seems to be the same. 
The disciples had shared the privations of the Messiah, and 
they would share the glories of His Kingdom. They had joined 
with Him in proclaiming this Kingdom to Israel, and they will 
join with Him in having royal power in Israel, sharing His rule 
over all those who have received the good tidings respecting the 
Kingdom; comp. x. 6, xii. 41, 42. And the generous return 
for all that has been sacrificed in this world for Christ's sake 
(x. 39, xvi. 25) is not confined to the Twelve. ^ Every one' 
who for His Name's sake has given up what is most dear to 
him, shall receive a hundredfold in return. In Mk. and Lk. 
it is expressly stated that this hundredfold compensation will 
be made in this world (^ r<p jcotpf rodrni^ in addition to eternal 
life in the world to come. But in Mt nothing is said about 
this world ; the whole reward is regarded as taking place ' in the 

^ ' What then shall be 9ur reward ? ' is the exact force of the question. 

* Very possibly Lk. has the historical context, and Mt, as often, has put 
together sayings on the same subject, independently of the time of utterance. 
'Judging' does not mean sentencing the wicked, which would be painfiil 
work, and no reward, but ruling the good. Comp. Tudg. iii. 10, x. 2, 3, 
xii. 9, II, 13, 14, etc. ; also Book of Enoch : *' When they see that Son 
of Man sitting on the tiirone of His glory" (Ixii. 5); ''I will brin^ forth 
clad in diining light those who have loved My holy Name, and I will seat 
each on the throne of his honour" (cviii. 12). Comp. the Testament of 
Judah XXV. i. 


regeneration.' Consequently Mt omits ^with persecutions/ for 
if the manifold recompense is transferred to a future life, there 
can be no thought of persecutions. ' The regeneration * means 
the new Genesis, the creating of a new heaven and a new earth, 
as was expected by the Jews. As ' of the dead ' is commonly 
to be understood after Uhe resurrection,' so 'of all things' or 
'of the universe' is to be understood after 'the regeneration' 
(1} rnXuryeyMcla), Comp. Is. Ixvi. 22; Rev. xxi. i, 5. But 
even in Mt the 'hundlredfold' (or 'manyfold,' BL and other 
witnesses) is not identified with 'eternal life.'^ The latter 
refers to the man himself, the former to his* environment 

After 'or £ither, or mother/ H C KX and Syr-Cur. add 'or wife,' which 
is found in Lk. zviii. 29, but not in Mk. z. 29. It is probably not genuine 
here, but might have been omitted m B D, Syr-Sin. and Old Lat because 
of the childish idea, mentioned by Jerome, that it seemed to imply that the 
man was to have a hundred wives m the regeneration. As if the preceding 
words implied that he was to have a hundred fathers and a hundred mothers ! 
He has sacrificed jo3rs of kinship in this world ; he wiU be repaid a hundred- 
fold in the next Mt's omission of 6^ r^ Koipf roiirfp (Mk., Lk.) is re- 

The saying 'first being last and last being first' (30) is 
found here in Mt. and Mk. But Lk. omits it here and has 
it in a different context in xiii. 30, while Mt. repeats it in 
xz. 16. We infer that it was a saying which our Lord uttered 
more than once. Like so many of His sayings, it is capable 
of various applications.* In this place we may interpret it in 
two ways. We may refer back to the rich man who had such 
a leading position and say, that many who in this world are 
ranked among the first will hereafter be among the last, because 
they were unwilling to sacrifice temporal advantages to gain 
eternal life; while many, who by surrendering everything here 
have placed themselves among the last, will hereafter be found 
among the first Or, we may refer to the more immediate 
context of Peter's remark (27) and regard the 8a3dng as a 
rebuke to his self-complacency. Self-sacrifice is excellent, but 
it must be accompanied by humility. To plume oneself upon 
having surrendered everything is to vitiate everything. Spiritual 
pride is fatal, and even Apostles must remember that there will 

^ There is a similar difference of reading in tlu Testaments : " He that 
shareth with his neighbour {/urdiidods, as in Lk. iii. ii) receiveth manyfold 
more from the Lord " {Zehulon vi. 6) ; where some texts read hrTaiw\&ffi09 
for iroXXarXoo'iora. See Dalman, H^ords, p. 67. Here, as in zvi. 25, Mt. 
omits 'and for the Gospel's sake,' probably as being superfluous. All three 
are different here, and perhaps ' for My sake ' {(w€K€p i/ioO) was the original 
of all. 

' It may be applied to Jews and Gentiles having their positions reversed ; 
but that is not the meaning here. 


be many who will equal them in self-sacrifice and in devotion 
to Christ The parable which follows seems to fit the second 
of these interpretations. " St. Peter had attempted to stipulate 
for a reward for the sacrifices which he and his brethren had 
made ; and he is taught by this parable that, while every promise 
made would be amply fulfilled, yet they who had made no 
stipulation might receive a greater reward" (Salmon, The Human 
Element^ p. 417). The reward is open to all true workers for 
Christ without distinction. To have been earliest in the field 
confers no exclusive right to special blessings. 

If there is this dose connexion between these verses (37-30) 
and the parable which follows them, then the division of the 
chapters here is singularly unfortunate. But the evil has been 
remedied in our present Lectionary, for these verses and the 
parable are read in Church as one lesson (4 Feb. and 6 Aug.). 

Characteristic expressions inch. zix. : 6pia{i), 4K€i{2)trpo(r4pxiff0at{^, x6)» 
rpoff^ptip (13), Topt6€ff$at (15), ixeWew (15), KtU I806 (x6), Onfaavpit (21), 
a^f>a (25), t6t€ (13, 27), Idvi (27). Peculiar : ^ patrCKxla raw o^pawQw (12, 
14* 23) ; peculiar to this chapter : fieralpetp (i), e^yovxltttt^ (12 dis). 

Again we have instances of ML having the aorist where Mk. has the 
imperfect: Tpoajjyix^iia'ca', ireri/ai<raw (13), for Tpo(r44>^po9^ iverlfuap (Mk. 
X. 13). Comp. irerlfiiiO'ePf (Kpaiaw, '^oKovdrfffoi' (xx. 31, 34) for irerl/iup, 
iKpaftp, ijKoKodSei (Mk. x. 48, 52). 

XX. 1-16. Tike JMaurers in the Vineyard. 

This parable almost rivals that of the Unrighteous Steward 
in the number of difficulties which have been found in it, and 
in the number of interpretations which have been suggested for 
it^ In both cases difficulties have been imported into the 
parable by insisting upon making the details mean something. 
In each case there is one main lesson conveyed by the story, 
and everything else is mere background and frame for the 
picture. It may be lawful to suggest meanings for the features 
in the background and the frame; but we must not insist on 
these as being intended as lessons, and we need not be surprised 
if these interpretations of details lead us into perplexity. The 
lesson of the Unrighteous Steward is that we must use temporal 
blessings to win eternal life. If an unrighteous steward was 
commended by his earthly master for his prudence in providing 
for his future by a fraudulent use of what had been committed 
to him, how much more will a righteous servant be rewarded 
by his heavenly Master for providing for eternity by a good use 
of what has been committed to him? In this parable the 
meaning is equally simple. God keeps His promises to those 
who serve Him, but He remains Master in His own world. 
^ See Sanday, Expositor^ 1st series, iii. pp. 82-101. 

i-16j tHROUGH PiikiEA f O JERUSALEM 2j^i 

He is the sole judge of what each servant ought to receive. 
No one receives less than has been promised, but many 
receive more ; and in these uncovenanted awards there is much 
that, in man's eyes, seems to be unfair. But 'God sees not 
as man seeth'; and 'shall not the Judge of all the earth do 

There is no need to find a separate meaning for those who 
were called at the different hours of the day. An agreement 
was made with those who were hired early ; the others trusted 
to the householder's fairness. And at the time of payment only 
those with whom an agreement had been made, and kept, found 
fault It is implied that the others were well satisfied with re- 
ceiving full pay. We have, therefore, only two classes to 
consider: those who came early, and those who came later; 
or, those who grumbled, and those who did not 

As to the householder's fairness, there can be no question. 
He kept faith with those who made an agreement with him, and 
he was the sole judge of what the work of the others was worth 
to him. Time was precious, and labour became increasingly 
valuable as the day went on. Fresh and vigorous workers would 
be specially valuable. But the best of those who came late could 
not claim more that a full day's wage, and the householder did 
not think it fair to pay less. It is quite possible that considera- 
tions of this kind may enter into the distribution of spiritual 
rewards ; but all that the parable teaches is that to have entered 
God's service early gives no claim to more than He has promised, 
and that it ill becomes a servant of His to question His justice. 
The parable takes no account of those who deliberately postpone 
entering God's service in order to shorten the work to be done 
for Him. Aii the labourers came as soon as they were called ; 
and of those who came last it is expressly stated that they had 
had no previous opportunity of working. 

There is no difficulty in the thought that some, who are really 
God's servants and work for Him, at times murmur against Him. 
The argument, if they were members of the Kingdom, they would 
not murmur, and if they murmured, they could not have been 
members of the Kingdom, is not valid. Even Apostles murmured 
at times. 

There is more difficulty as to the way in which the words 
which precede the parable as a text, and conclude it like a moral, 
are to be fitted to it How does the parable illustrate the saying 
about the last being first, and the first last? It is quite in- 
adequate to say that those who began to work last were paid 
first That trifling advantage has no meaning in the parable. 
It was necessary for the development of the story that those with 
whom an agreement had been made should be paid after the 

2}^4 GOSPEL ACCORDlNfe TO S. MAttHEW [lt3L 15, 16 

Others. If they had been paid first and sent away, there could 
have been no murmuring ; and the murmuring is needed to bring 
out the lesson. Neander maintains that '' £e words, ' The last 
shall be first, and the first last' cannot possibly be ^<&punctuM 
saliens of the parable ; in it the last are not preferred to the first " 
{Life of Christy § 240, p. 385). But the words say nothing about 
the last h&ng preferred to the first; they say that the one shall 
be as the other. We are not to understand that the first and the 
last are to change places, but that they are to be on an equality, 
the one bemg treated as the other is treated. In the distribution 
of rewards no distinction will be made between first and last 
The devoted servant in .the twentieth century may equal the 
devoted servant in the first The devoted servant of half a 
lifetime may equal the devoted servant of a whole lifetime. 

No parable can teach all the details of the truth with 
which it is primarily concerned. It has been objected that the 
murmurers are not punished for their murmuring ; they receive 
only a gentle remonstrance, and get their pay just as the others 
do. But is a rebuke from Him nothing? And, although He 
inflicts no punishment, yet there is the punishment which they 
inflict upon themselves. They get the reward that was promised 
them; but they have lost the power of enjoying it The dis- 
contented are never happy, and jealousy is one of the worst of 
torments. Heaven is no heaven to those who lack the heavenly 
temper; and these murmurers will have no pleasure in their 
reward, until they can accept it with thankfulness. From this 
point of view the first and the last may be said to have changed 
places. Those who came first to the vineyard had the least joy, and 
those who came last had the most joy, in the reward given to all. 

The parable is iiutructiye in another wav in telling us that at that time a 
denarius was the common wage of a day labourer. The equivalent coin was 
offered by Tobit as a daily wage (Tob. v. 15), and was evidently meant as a 
good wage. Therefore (see on xviii. 28), although a denarius contained less 
silver than a shilling, it must have been equal to two shillings of our money, 
or even more. For ordinary purposes the denarius and the drachm (Lk. 
zv. 8) were treated as eqtiivalent, and both were in circulation along with 
the tetradrachm=i shekel (xvii. 24, 27). But the official coin of the Roman 
Empire was the denarius^ and in government business the drachm was only 
three-quarters of a denarius. See Hastings, DB*^ art. 'Money/ pp. 427, 
428 ; Madden, Hist. ofJeToish Coinage, pp. 245-247. While the day was 
divided into hours, the night was divided mto watches. We do not read of 
definite hours of the night 

'For many are called, but few chosen' (16) may safely be treated as an 
Interpolation from xxii. 14. The words are an early insertion (C D N, Latt. 
Syrr. Arm. Aeth., Orig.); but they are omitted in the best texts (KfiLZ, 
>Egyptt., and editors). They have no point here with reference either to the 
parable or to what follows. It illustrates the caprice of the AV. that the 
saying is translated here, ' For many be called, but few chosen,' and in xxii. 
14, * For many are called, but few are chosen.' 


In ver. 13 there are two differences of reading which are not often noticed. 
For odK dducQ ffe Syr-Cur. has /ify ddlKei fie, ' Do me no wrong/ or perhaps 
'Trouble me not' (Lk. xi. 7); and for trweifHbvritrds fjw, (K SCDN etc.) 
various authorities have aweffnavTiffd coi (L Z 33, Syr-Sin. Sah. Copt.). 
Comp. Jn. viii. 57, where for ' hast Thou seen Abraham ' (A B C D etc. ) a 
few ancient authorities read *hath Abraham seen Thee' (K, Syr-Sin. Sah.). 
Nestle, Textual Criticism, p. 254. 

With ver. 15 comp. Prov. xxiii 6, 7, with Toy's notes ; Pir^e Aboth, 
u* 13, I5» with Taylor's notes; and with the parable as a whole comp. 
" Faithful is the Master of thy work, who will pay thee the reward of thy 
work ; axkl know that the recompense of the reward of the righteous is for 
the time to come" {.Pirqe Aboth, 11. 19). See Montefiore, pp. 700 f. 

XX. 17-10. Repeated Announcement of the Pension, 

This is commonly called the third amiouncement, but it is 
the fourth of those which are recorded (xvi. 21, xvii. 12, 22), and 
there may have been others. As usual (viii. 27 = Mk. iv. 41 ; 
xvii. 4 «= Mk. ix. 5, 6; xviL 23 = Mk. ix. 32 ; xix. 23 = Mk. x. 
23, 24), Mt spares the Twelve by omitting their astonishment 
and fear. Mk. here says : * Jesus was going before them : and 
they were amazed; and they that followed were afraid.' Lk. 
follows Mt. in omitting this, and probably for the same reason ; 
but in Mk. we have Peter's recollection of his personal 
experience. *They that followed' perhaps includes more than 
the Apostles, and this would explain Christ's taking the Twelve 
apart (*caT tStav); the others who were following were not to 
hear this last prediction of what was to befall Him at Jerusalem. 
In Mt. the taking apart is not explained, for we are not told that 
any but the Twelve were present Nowhere is the amazement 
(idafiPovvTo) of the Twelve or the fear of those who followed 
explained: we may suppose that there was something in our 
Lord's manner, as He walked on in front of them, which inspired 
these feelings. 

Previously Christ had merely said that He ' must ' ( Sc^ xvi. 
21) or *is about to' (/leAAci, xvii. 12, 22) suffer; but now He 
says that He is actually on His way to the city where this is 
to take place, and in this sorrowful journey He includes the 
disciples with Himself: *we are going up to Jerusalem.' And 
here He expressly states that, although it is the Sanhedrin who 
will condemn Him to death, yet it is the Gentiles who will 
execute the sentence, and thus intimates that He will be 
crucified and not stoned (Jn. xviii. 31, 32). Consequently, Mt. 
thinks himself justified in substituting * crucify ' for * kill ' ; and 
he again corrects * after three days ' into the more accurate * on 
the third day ' ; but contrast xii. 40 and xxvii. 63. Lk. follows 
Mt. in making this correction. 

All three Evangelists mention that Christ spOke of His going 


up to Jerusalem for His suffering and death ; and it is possible 
that He now for the first time mentioned where these amazing 
things were to take place. Mt indeed inserts 'go unto 
Jerusalem' in the first announcement (xvL 21), but neither Mk. 
nor Lk. have any mention of the place until now. Yet the 
statement that He was to suffer in the Holy City would hardly 
come as a surprise to the Twelve, for they knew that there His 
chief opponents had their headquarters.^ It was perhaps the 
fact that they knew Jerusalem to be so dangerous for Him that 
caused their amazement when they saw that He was bent upon 
going thither ; and it was perhaps this same fact which made the 
sons of Zebedee anxious about their own prospects in the 
Kingdom, which they believed to be at hand, but the nature of 
which they still strangely misunderstood. By his favourite 
•Then' (tot€) Mt closely connects their request with the 
preceding announcement. 

The AV. translates the same verb {rapadoB^trat, rapadt&aovnp) 
differently in w. 18, 19 : ' shall be betrayed unto ' and ' shall deliver Him 
to'; the RV. has * shall be delivered unto' and 'shall deliver Him unto.' 
Similarly, in Mk. ix. 31 the AV. has ' is delivered into the hands,' while in 
Mt. xvii. 22, which is parallel, it has ' shall be betrayed into the hands ' ; 
comp. xxvi. 2. 'Deliver up' is the better translation, the Question as to 
God s delivering Him up as a sacrifice, or Judas's delivering Him up to His 
foes, being open. 

ZZ. fiO-aS. The Request of the Sons of Zebedee. 

It seems strange that soon after the sad announcement which 
Jesus had just made once more (and this time with more detail 
as to His approaching sufferings than had been given in the 
earlier predictions), two of His most intimate disciples should 
trouble Him with a petition for their own advancement in the 
Kingdom which He is about to inaugurate. It is impossible 
that, after Peter's remonstrance and Christ's stem rebuke of him 
for it (xvi. 22, 23), two of those who had been with Him on the 
Mount and had received a special announcement of the Passion 
(xvii. 12), should still be in ignorance as to what that prediction, 
which had just been repeated, meant But they had recently 
been confirmed in their ideas about the Kingdom by the 
declaration that they were to sit on thrones and rule the tribes of 
Israel (xix. 28), and they had not forgotten that Once more 
the question arises as to who are to be greatest among these 

' In xvi. 21 and xvii. 22, 23 there is less detail than here. Here Mt. omits 
the spitting, though he records it as having taken place (xxvi. 67, xxvii. 30), 
while Lk., who does not record it, mentions it here (xviii. 32). In xvii. 22 
the betrayal is add^d, and here other details are added : it is probable that 
the prediction became more definite as His hour drew nearer. 

ao-aa] through PERiEA to Jerusalem 277 

rulers, and James and John believe that their prospects are good. 
They are nearly related to the Messiah, for their mother Salome 
was the sister of His Mother (comp. xxvii. 56 with Mk. xv. 40 
and Jn. xix. 25). This, combined with their special intimacy 
with Him, ought to give them some preference. 

It must remain doubtful whether Mk. is more exact in saying 
that the two brothers made the petition in person, or Mt in 
saying that they acted through their mother. Mt may have 
believed that it was their mother's doing, and that it would be 
more creditable to the two Apostles to express this belief, in 
spite of Mk.'s silence respecting her share of the transaction : ^ 
or he may have had independent information. His story is the 
more credible of the two. It is more likely that a mother's 
ambition would take the lead in such a matter than that the two 
brothers should do so. But we may believe that all three were 
in unison about it Our Lord's question about the cup assumes 
that the brothers know what their mother has been asking. If, 
for obvious reasons, they let His Mother's sister plead their 
cause, He makes His appeal to them, not through her, but 

Neither mother nor sons had considered that the sufferings 
and death which the Messiah predicted for Himself were the 
road to the Kingdom. He must suffer in order to reign. Still 
less had they considered that those who desired to reign with 
Him must be ready to suffer with Him. Hence they did not 
know what they were asking, when they begged to have their 
thrones nearest to His. This He proceeds to bring home to 
them. In language which recalls the * cup of God's fury ' (Is. li. 
17, 22; comp. Jer. xlix. 12), He asks whether they are able to 
drink of the cup which He is about to drink ; and they at once 
reply that they are able (22).' As in the case of the rich man's 
profession of obedience to the commandments (xix. 20), our 
Lord does not question the brothers' confident profession of 
courage (comp. xxvi. 35), nor does He blame it ; nor again does 
He deny that there will be differences of rank in the Kingdom. 

^ "There is the possibility that at the time when S. Matthew's Gospel 
was published, the consideration in the Church of James and John was so 
high that there was a desire to throw some of the responsibility for this 
demand from the Apostles on their mother" (Salmon, p. 420). Possibly this 
feeling caused Lk. to omit the incident altogether. On the change from 
active (a/rot;<ra, 20) to middle (a/reurtfe, 22) see J. H. Moulton, Gram, tf 
N.T. Gr, p. i6a 

' The true text of Mt. omits the parallel about ' the baptism that I am 
baptized with,' either as being mere repetition, or possibly as being some- 
what obscure. But the picture of suffering as an overwhelming flood is 
common (Ps. Ixiz. i, 2, cxxiv. 3, 4), and Christ had used the metaphor 
of baptism before (Lk. zii. 50). Mt. inserts fUKKof to make the cup refer 
tp Geths^manCt 


With regard to the former, He tells them that their profession 
will be realized ; and, with regard to the latter, that it rests with 
the Father to dispose of the honours of the Kingdom. 

The prediction with r^ard to their sharing His cup was 
fulfilled respecting James, when he was put to death by Herod 
Agrippa i., a.d. 44 (Acts xii. 2). Respecting John, it was fulfilled 
in various ways: imprisonment (Acts iv. 3, v. 18), beating 
(v. 40), and exile (Rev. L 9). That John, lie James, was put 
to death by the Jews, was perhaps stated by Papias (Geoigius 
Hamartolus and the De Boor fragment), but this looks like an 
invention to make the fulfilment of Christ's prediction similar in 
the case of both brothers.^ The stories that he drank poison 
and was immersed in boiling oil without being harmed cannot be 
relied upon, though they go back to the second century. 

The reservation respecting the right-hand and left-hand 
places is rightly rendered in the AV. : ' is not Mine to give, but 
(it shall be given to those) for whom it has been prepared.' The 
*but'(dAA(^ does not mean 'except' (ci /ii;). Christ does not 
mean that He can only give it to those for whom it is ordained ; 
but that the assignment is not in His hands, but in those of His 
Father. To make this quite clear, Mt. adds after ' for whom it 
has been prepared ' the words ' by My Father,' which is quite in 
his manner (vii. 21, x. 32, xi. 27, xii. 50, xvL 17, xviii. 10, 19). 
On the use of 'prepare' respecting the Divine counsels see 
Dalman, Words ^ p. 128; Hatch, Biblical Greeks pp. 51-55. 
With regard to the limitation which our Lord here puts upon 
His own power we may compare the similar limitations stated 
Mk. xiii. 32 and Acts L 7. Here, as there, He makes no 
revelation as to what the Divine decree is. 

Perhaps the Ten had expected that Christ would reprove 
the ambition of the sons of Zebedee more severely; but the 
attempt to gain an advantage by private solicitation was enough 
to provoke their indignation against James and John.' 
Emulation and jealousy, which had been already rebuked 
(xviiL I ff.), and perhaps more than once, are still rife among the 
Apostles. Lk., who omits this incident, transfers Christ's rebuke 
to one of the discourses which preceded the arrest in Gethsemane 
(xxii. 24-37). It is not likely that this contrjLSt with Gentile 
methods of government (25) was made more than once, and the 

^ " There is no sufficient evidence to cast serious doubt on the uniTeraal 
tradition that S. John died peacefully at Ephesus in extreme old aee. The 
attribation to Papias of the statement that John and James were killed by 
the Jews rests on very slender authority " (J. Arm. Robinson, 7%€ Historical 
Character of St, Johns Gospel^ p. 79). 

* Both at ver. 20 and at ver. 24 Mt. omits the names of the brothers, 
whereas Mk. gives the names in both places. Mt. alone uses the strange 
expression ' mother of the soqs of Zebedee ' ; comp. xxvii. j6. 


occasion given by Mt. and Mk. is more likely to be historical 
than that chosen by Lk. The rebuke to the Ten is as gentle as 
that to the two brothers, and in substance it resembles that 
already given (xviii. 2-5). The road to promotion is the road 
of humility^ and he who desires to rule must first learn to serve. 
This is a complete reversal of the common idea of the relations 
between ruler and subject ; it is the ruler who has to serve his 
subjects rather than they him. 

The Gentiles are probably chosen in order to make the 
contrast between the disciples and other organizations as great 
as possible. There was not so much difference between Jewish 
and Gentile potentates as regards the matter in question. In 
both there was a tendency to despotism. The details of the 
saying are not quite clear. The meaning seems to be that the 
Gentiles are tyrannized over by rulers and their underlings, and 
that the tyranny of the underlings is worse than that of those 
who are supreme, the ' them ' in both cases being the Gentiles. 
The despotism of Emperors and Kings is great, but that of 
proconsuls and satraps is worse. Yet the second ' them ' might 
refer to 'the rulers.' Emperors and Kings lord it over the 
people; but the proconsuls and satraps manage to control the 
Emperors and Kings. The former interpretation, however, is 
more probable. In any case, the extremely rare word used for 
'exercise authority' (Karc^otNriofciv) is evidence that Mt. and 
Mk. cannot be independent of one another. 

* Not so is it among you ' (26). Both here and in Mk. ' is ' (B D Z) is 
more probable than ' shall be ' (H C L X). At the moment when Christ spoke, 
the disciples' frame of mind was that of the Gentiles, and hence there was a 
temptation to change the present into the future : ' they would learn better 
in tmie.' But Chnst is speaking of their ideal, of that which He has set 

their Master, yet He serves, 
have altered it into ' shall 
repeated, which follows. 
And here again there is confusion of reading in both Gospels between ' shall 
be'(HCDKLM, Latt.)andMet him be'CBEGHSV); so in ver. 27. 
But the evidence is differently distributed in the two Gospels, and also in the 
two places (26, 27) in this Gospel. 

There is a right kind of emulation in the Kingdom, viz. as 
to who can be of more service to others. There may be a noble 
rivalry as to who can most completely devote himself for the 
benefit of all. And there is no other way of being great or of 
becoming first. If proof of this is needed, there is the example 
of the Messiah Himself. On a previous occasion He took a 
little child as a pattern of temper and spirit ; here He takes His 
own life as a pattern of action. ' He came not to be ministered 
unto, but to minister.' Christ does not here speak of Himself 
as having been sent by His Father to undertake this position 


of ministering to others, although that would have been true. 
He says, what is equally true, that He catne^ of His own free 
will, to do this. The example is in this way made all the 
stronger. Although unique among the sons of men, yet He 
came not to profit by their service but to render service to them, 
even to the full extreme of giving His life as a ransom for them. 

Here, as in v. 17 and x. 34, the negative description of His 
aim is not absolute. He allowed Himself to be ministered to 
both by Angels (iv. 11) and human beings (viii. 15, xxvii. 55); 
and His disciples often acted towards Him as His servants. 
Nevertheless, this was not the object of His coming into the 
world. The hundreds whom He had healed and the thousands 
whom He had instructed made the number of those who had 
ministered to Him look small indeed. And if those who 
profited by His brief public life were to be counted by thousands, 
what was to be said of the millions who profited by His death ? 
This was His "supreme act of service to humanity" (Swete). 
There is a climax in this statement of the Christian ideal. To 
be great is to be the servant {^wxwfii) of many ; to be first is 
to be the bond-servant (SovXos) of many ; to be supreme is to 
give one's life for many. The word * ransom ' (XvrpoF), though 
not rare in the O.T., is used in the N.T. only in this context ; 
and the English phrase, ' a ransom for many,' is not likely to 
be misunderstood. It means a ransom by means of which 
many are set free — from bondage, or captivity, or penalties, or 
sentence of death. But the Greek phrase might be misunder- 
stood; *a ransom instead of many' (hn\ iroAAoiv) might be 
thought to mean that many ought to have paid ransom, but 
that He paid it instead of them; which is not the meaning. 
And the indefinite ' many ' does not mean that there were some 
whom He did not intend to redeem ; that He did not die for 
all, * Many ' is in opposition to one ; it was not for His own 
personal advantage that He sacrificed His life, but one life was 
a ransom for many lives. Here, where Christ for the first time 
reveals that His death is to benefit mankind. He does not 
reveal the whole truth. Comp. i Tim. ii. 6 and i Jn. ii. 2, where 
the more comprehensive truth is stated. The ransom is paid 
to God, into whose hands the dying Messiah surrenders His 
life (Lk. xxiii. 46). The way in which this ransom sets men 
free is beyond our comprehension.^ 

'The Son of Man came' implies the pre-existence of the 
Son ; it is not a mere synonym for being bom (xviii. 11; Lk. ix. 
56, xix. 10). Only once does Christ spe^ of being bom, and 

» Sec Sanday, Outlines ,% 57, pp. I34-I37i and the literature there quoted. 
Only here and Mk. x. 45 J*^ ^* N.T. does Xvrpop occur. Comp. Josephus, 
4nt, XIV. vii, X. See H. T. Andrews in MamJUld ColU^ Essays^ pp. 77 t 


then He immediately adds the more full expression: 'To this 
end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the 
world, that I should bear witness unto the truth ' (Jn. xviiL 37). 
And this Ministry of teaching and bearing witness continued to 
the very end : on the Cross He ministered to the robber. And 
' to give His life ' implies that His death was the act of His own 
free will * No one taketh it away from Me, but I lay it down 
of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to 
take it again' (Jn. z. 18). Just those two things which seem to 
be beyond our own control, being bom and dying, are said by 
Christ to be His own free acts ; ^ the Son of Man came ... to 
give His life a ransom for many ' (Maclaren).^ 

Is not the combination of humility and majesty which is 
found in this saying a guarantee for its genuineness? Could it 
have been invented ? Who is this, who in the same utterance, 
and in the most simple and natural way, declares that He is 
the servant of everybody, and that His single life is able to 
ransom many? There is no boasting and no manifest exaggera- 
tion in either declaration ; nothing but a calm statement of fact, 
made by One who is confident that He is saying the simple 
truth. This is God's * Righteous Servant,' who is able to 'justify 
many; and He shall bear their iniquities' (Is. liii. ii). Aud 
His followers are to take His life as their pattern; their lives 
are to be shaped in accordance with His as lives of self-sacrifice 
and service. Comp. 2 Mac viL 37. 

D and ^ (Codex Beratinus) with some Old Latin and Syriac authorities 
have a long interpolation alter 'a ransom for many' (28). Syr-Sin. is 
defective, but there b not room for it in what is missing. Until the discovery 
of ^ in 1868, D was the only Greek authority for the passage which runs 
thus : ** But ye seek firom littleness to increase and [not] from greatness to 
be little. But when ye are bidden to a supper, sit not down in the superior 
places, lest a more honourable man than thou come up, and the giver of the 
supper come to thee and say, Go down lower, and thou be greatly ashamed : 
but if thou sit down in the lower place, and there come one less than thou, 
and the giver of the supper shall say to Uiee, Go up higher, then shall this be 
profitable to thee." The wording is somewhat different in the different 
authorities, especially in the Latin ; but the chief difference is the insertion 
in the Syriac of the ' not ' in the second clause. A similar result is reached 
in some Latin texts by changing " from greatness to be little ** {de magno 
minuiy or cU maximo minui^ or de majori minores esse) into *' from less to 
become greater " {de minors majores fieri), D has koX 4k lul^woi iKorrov 
cltKu, ^ iXdrriow. Both D and # have the rare word ievrwokK'fyrap {cena 
invitatoTf or is quite inviteibit) for 'the giver of the supper.' The tfp'iiT€ 
may be either indicative [qtueritis) or imperative (Syriac). Wordsworth and 
White, Vulgate, i. p. 124 ; Smith's DB, iii. p. 1712 ; Scrivener, Beta Codex^ 
p. 59 ; Resd), Agrapka, p. 39 ; Nestle, Textual Criticism, pp. 255-258. 

^ On the frequency of the construction ' not this but that ' (o^x . . . dA\4) 
in our Lord's sayings (28) see Abbott, yb^a». Gr, 2593. Comp. x. 20, xiz. 6, 
ipL 23, etc It is specially frequent in Mk* 


. XX. 29-84. The Two Blind Men at Jericho. 

Here we again have all three narratives ; and, although both 
Mt. and Lk. seem to be dependent on Mk., yet no two narratives 
agree. Mk. and Lk. have only one blind man ; Mt has two. 
Mt and Mk. represent the miracle as being wrought when Christ 
was leaving Jericho ; Lk. as being wrought when He was enter- 
ing it Mt says that He healed with a touch ; Mk. and Lk. say 
that He healed with a word, but they differ somewhat as to the 

It is possible that Lk. had other authority besides Mk. 
Besides his differences, he adds that the blind man, when healed, 
glorified God, and that all the people, when they saw it, gave 
praise to God. It is possible also that in Mt there is some 
confusion between this healing of Bartimseus and the healing of 
two blind men in a house (ix. 27-31). In both cases the blind 
men greet Jesus as the * Son of David,' and in both cases Mt. 
mentions that in healing them Christ touched their eyes. This 
is all the more remarkable in this case, because Mk. says nothing 
about touching, and elsewhere Mt omits the Ephphatha miracle 
with the touching of the ears and the tongue. This confusion 
with another miracle might account for Mt's two blind men ; 
but in any case we must compare his two demoniacs among the 
Gadarenes, where Mk. and Lk. mention only one. As he did 
not know the name of the second blind man, he omits the name 
of Bartimaeus. But he is given to omitting names. He twice 
omits the names of the sons of Zebedee (xx. 20, 24), and he 
omits the name of Jairus (ix. 18). 

These differences between the three accounts are of little 
moment, except for the instruction of those who think that they 
are bound to believe that every statement in Scripture must be 
historically true. What clearly emerges from the narrative is 
that in the neighbourhood of Jericho a blind man called to 
Jesus for help, as He was on His way to Jerusalem for the last 
Passover ; that the crowd would have kept him from Christ, but 
Christ would not allow this ; and that his sight was restored bj 
Jesus. The graphic details in Mk., which are ignored by Mt and 
Lk. as unimportant, are such as an eye-witness would remember 
and record.* 

The expression 'Son of David' is common in Mt (i. i, 20, 
ix. 27, xiL 23, XV. 22, xxi. 9, 15, xxii. 42}, but here it is in all 
three, and it may be regarded as historical. It implies a belief 

* Bnt Mt. alone records the touching of the eyes of the blind. The 
touching does not enhance the miracle, and the addition is remarkable. 
0>mp. ix. 29. And Mt. alone mentions the compassion {^virKvrfxyisB^W^ 
Comp. Mk. i. 41. 


that Jesus was the Messiah. May we not believe that the man 
who repeatedly used it on this occasion, and who afterwards 
followed Jesus, glorifying God, was among those who very 
shortly afterwards shouted * Hosanna to the Son of David ' at the 
triumphal entry into Jesusalem ? It is possible that the crowd's 
attempt to silence the cries to the ' Son of David ' was dictated 
by the thought that this proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah 
was premature. They had not yet made up their minds how to 
act in the matter. But they may merely have wished to prevent 
Him from being disturbed by importunate cries. 'Lord, that 
our eyes may be opened' shows that the necessary faith was 
there; comp. ix. 28, 29. 

. Chamcteristic expresnons in ch. nc. : 9Uo8wv6fnff (i, 12), Uh6 (18), 
t6t€ (20), vpo(r4pX€<r$ai (20), vpwricvwtiw (20), koX IS06 (30), v{d$ Aokveli 
(30> 31)* Peculiar: ^ fiaaiktia tQv oipwQp {i\ iraipos (13), fUffOoup {i^ 7 

In ver. 20 we have another instance of capricious rendering in the AV. 
'Then came to Him the mother of Zebedee's chiidrin {vlQ») with her 
sons (vlwr).' 



This is sometimes called "the Messianic Crisis.** Jesus is 
publicly proclaimed as the Messiah, and in consequence is put 
to death ; He rises again, appears to His disciples, and promises 
to be with them ' all the days, unto the consummation of the 
age.' The narrative of these momentous events constitutes the 
fifth and concluding portion of the First Gospel The chronology 
of these last days, as of the whole of our Lord's life, is uncertain ; 
but the best authorities are disposed to assume that the year is 
A.D. 29. But, when that is determined, the assignment of the 
events recorded to the right day of the week and month still 
remains (in various particulars) a difficult problem. It is evident 
that the Evangelists, as a rule, did not regard chronology as of 
great importance. And Mt. does not care to record details of 
journeys. He tells us nothing as to the route from Galilee into 
Persea (xix. i), or as to the scenes of the events there, or as to 
the route towards Jerusalem (xx. 17), or where the Jordan was 
crossed to reach Jericho (xx. 29) ; and now nothing is said about 
the journey from Jericho to Jerusalem. The one place men- 
tioned is no help, for we know nothing respecting Bethphage, 
not even whether it was a village or a district, for it is not 
mentioned either in the O.T., or in the Apocrypha, or in 
Josephus. In the N.T. it occurs in the Synoptists only, and 


they do not tell its position, which, however, must have been on 
or near the Mount of Olives.^ See DCG, i. p. 197. 

XXI. 1-11. The MessiaKs Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. 

The Passover was at hand, and there would be immense 
numbers of pilgrims that had come to Jerusalem for the Feast 
Of these, some would know a good dead about Jesus, especially 
those who had come from Galilee. Many more had seen and 
perhaps heard Him occasionally. But the large majority of 
those who took part in the triumphal entry must have known 
very little about Him, and perhaps had never seen Him before. 
The great enthusiasm, therefore, cannot have had any strong 
foundation, and must have been, in many cases, merely 
emotional sympathy of an unreasoning and evanescent character. 
It is probable that not a few who cried 'Hosanna' at the entry 
took part in crying * Crucify * a few days later. This would be 
all the more likely to happen, because those who had shouted 
in the Messiah's honour believed that they were escorting Him 
to a throne which would restore the ancient glories of Israel. 
When they saw that nothing of the kind was going to take place, 
they would visit their disappointment upon the object* of their 
previous enthusiasm. If this proclamation of His Messiahship 
(to which He consented now that His hour was come) was more 
general and more loudly voiced than the attempt to make Him 
king just a year before (Jn. vi. 15), it was for that reason all the 
more dangerous in provoking deadly hostility, without being 
substantial enough to make any resistance to those who were 
determined to put Him to death. They might sympathize with 
Him when He defeated His opponents in argument, but they 
made no attempt to deliver Him after His arrest, or to save Him 
from Crucifixion. (For the Mount of Olives see DCG, ii. 
p. 206; Deissmann, Bible Studies^ ^. 211. For S. Ephraim's 
quotation of ver. 3, *for their Lord they are required,' see 
Burkitt in JTS,^ July 1900, p. 569.) 

We are free to suppose that our Lord had already spoken to 
the owner of the colt when He sent the two disciples, for nothing 
in the narrative contradicts this; but the impression produced 
by all three accounts is that Jesus had supernatural knowledge, 
by virtue of which He predicted what would happen. All three 
call attention to the exact correspondence (Ka)9(J(a'even as') 
between what He had said and what took place. Mt. implies 
this: 'they did even as He appointed,' which they could not 

^ One may suppose that, when Mt. wrote, Bethphage was as well known 
as Bethany, or better ; for he prefers it to Bethany as 1^ means df marking tl)e 


have done, if what they found had not agreed with what He had 
foretold. The owner seems to have known Jesus, and perhaps 
was a disciple; otherwise he would not have known who was 
meant by 'the Lord,' and would not so readily have obeyed. 
The two disciples are not named, but the details which Mk. 
alone gives suggest that one of them was Peter (comp. Lk. xxii. 8). 
Mt, who alone mentions two animals, omits that the colt was 
one *on which no one of men ever yet sat* (Mk., Lk.). This 
probably indicates a royal progress (Deut xxi. 3 ; Num. xix. 2 ; 
I Sam. vi. 7). All four Gospels mention that the animal on 
which Christ rode was a colt (iruAos), and the word occurs 
nowhere else in the N.T. The birth of a virgin and the burial 
in a tomb that had never before been used may be compared. 
We are not to regard Christ's riding on an ass as a special act of 
humility : ** The ass was highly esteemed as a riding beast, and 
was used by men and women of rank, as it has always been in 
the East " (Moore, y«^^«, p. 274). Comp. Judg. L 14, v. 10, 
X. 4 ; I Sam. xxv. 20 ; 2 Sam. xvii. 23, xix. 26. What the ass 
signified was, that the entry was a peaceful one. This was no 
conqueror with chariots and horsemen, but a King coming to 
His people with a farewell message of peace. 

Mt mentions both the foal and its mother, because he 
regards this as a more exact fulfilment of Zech. ix. 9.^ This is 
an error, for in the prophecy ' a colt the foal of an ass ' (or ' of 
she-asses ') is mere repetition of 'an ass': 'riding upon an ass, 
even upon a colt the foal of an ass ' (RV.). It is worth noting 
that Mt. inserts the prophecy (which Jn. also quotes) immediately 
after Christ's prediction of what the two disciples will find, not 
(as we might have expected) after the procession had taken place. 
He intimates that Christ was consciously fulfilling the prophecy.' 
'Tell ye the daughter of Zion' looks like a recollection of Is. 
bdi. 1 1, prefixed to the passage in Zechariah, either by a slip of 
memory, or perhaps deliberately, in order to give more point to 
the prophecy.* 

But we need not suppose that Mt overlooked the fact that 
Christ could not ride upon both animals at once, and was not 
likely to ride first on one and then on the other. Mk. says: 
' they bring the colt to Jesus, ^d cast on him their garments ; 
and He sat upon him,' which is plain enough. There is no 

^ Comp. Justin Martyr, who says that the colt was tied to a vine, in order 
to make the incident a fulfilment of Gen. zlix. 11, 'Binding his foal unto the 
vine * {Af^ol, i. 32). 

^ In this case (comp. i. 22, xxvi. 56) the perf. yiyovcp must be Mt.'s own. 
See Lightfoot, On Revision^ p. loi. 

' The use of inro^iov^ * beast of burden,' in the special sense of 'ass' is 
not a " Biblical " peculiarity. It seems to occur in papyri ; Deissmann, 
Bidiicai Studies, p. i6l. 


saddle or saddle-cloth, and the disciples take off their outer 
garments (to. ifuxria) to supply the deficiency. For this Mt has : 
'they brought the ass and the colt, and put on them their 
garments ; and He sat upon them ' (liri&rfKav iv abrwy ra ifuiTutf 
K(u €7r€KdOur€v etrdvio avroiv, where the change from lirC to lirdvia 
is to be noticed). Mt.'s idea is that the disciples put their 
clothes on both the animals, not knowing which the Lord would 
prefer. He took the colt, and sat upon the clothes. The 
wording is a little clumsy, because, while the first ' them ' must 
refer to the two animals, the second ' them ' might also refer to 
the two animals. But the change of preposition is perhaps 
intended to indicate a change of meaning ; ^ and in any case the 
Evangelist credits his readers with common sense. The sarcasm 
of Strauss is misplaced. 

The example of the disciples in sacrificing their upper 
garments to do honour to the Messiah is followed by the majority 
of the crowd, who take off theirs to make a carpet in front of 
Him. To this day this is a common form of homage; see 
instances quoted in Wetstein and Robinson, Res, in Pal. L p. 
473, ^^^ comp. 2 Kings ix. 13 of the proclamation of Jehu as 

'Hosanna' is in Mk. and Jn., but 'Hosanna to the Son of 
David' is in Mt. alone. The word comes from Ps. cxviii. 25, 
26, where *Hosanna* is a prayer, 'Save, we pray,* or 'Give 
salvation now ' ; and ' Blessed is He who cometh ' is a welcome 
to the pilgrim who comes to worship at the Feast It would 
seem as if what had originally been a prayer had come, through 
its frequent use in shouts at the Feast of Tabernacles, to be 
regarded as an exclamation of greeting or congratulation, similar 
to 'Haill' The original meaning could be made to hold in 
such an expression as ' Hosanna to the Son of David ' ; but it is 
difficult to make that meaning good in ' Hosanna in the highest' ' 
The probability is that the original meaning is lost in both 
phrases, and that we are to understand some such thought as 
' Glory to the Son of David,' * Glory in the highest,* the latter 
expression meaning that those who are in heaven join in this cry. 
Rev. vii. 9 throws some light on the subject, where the great 
multitude, with palms in their hands, cry 'Salvation unto our 
God . . . and unto the Lamb.' Indeed the passage may have 
been written with the thought of the triumphal entry in the Seer's 
mind. It would seem as if Lk. understood 'Hosanna' in the 

^ There seems to be no example of hrava being used as riding on an 
animal ; it would perhaps be as unusual as for us to talk of riding ' on the top 
of a horse. 

' Weymouth suggests, ' God save the Son of David, God in the highest 
heavens save Ilim V See Wright, Synopsis ^ p. iii. 

. 10-ld] LAST WOkK IK THE HOLV CItY 287 

sense of * Glory ' rather than of * Save ' : he has * Peace in heaven, 
and glory in the highest' See the excellent art on * Hosanna ' 
in I?CG, ; also Dalman, Words^ p. 220. In the post-communion 
prayer in the Didacke (x. 6) we have ' Hosanna to the God of 
David,' which in some texts has been altered to * Son of David,' 
no doubt under the influence of this passage. 

In what follows, Mt has a verse and a half which are not in 
Mk. or Lk. : 'all the city was stirred,^ saying, Who is this ? And 
the multitude said, This is the Prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of 
Galilee' (10, 11). This shows that to many, perhaps even of the 
inhabitants of Jerusalem, He was still personally unknown. The 
answer has the appearance of being exact In spite of the cries 
at the triumphal entry, it is not said that He is the Messiah ; 
that is by no means generally recognized ; but in various places, 
and especially in Galilee, He has had the reputation of being a 
Prophet (xvL 14). 

ZXI, 10-17. The Cleansing of the Temple. 

As to the cleansing of the Temple there are several doubts. 
Did it take place more than once ? If it did not, is Jn. right in 
placing it at the beginning of the Ministry, or are the Synoptists 
in placing it at the end ? And are his details to be preferred to 
theirs ? 

There is nothing incredible in two cleansings. Even if there 
were two, they probably did not put an end to the evil ; and if 
Jesus, after an interval of two years, found that the traffic was 
even worse than before, He would be likely to repeat the remedy. 
But, in that case, we should expect some reference on the second 
occasion to what had taken place before. Just as in the case of 
the feeding of the multitudes, the fact that the disciples are as 
perplexed about the feeding of the 4000 as about the feeding of 
the 5000, tells against the otherwise not improbable repetition of 
the miracle, so the fact that in no Gospel is there any allusion to 
more than one cleansing of the Temple, is against the otherwise 
not improbable repetition of that event But this reasoning is 
not decisive. 

Assuming that there was only one cleansing, it is more 
probable that this Messianic act took place at the end of the 
Ministry than at the beginning of it. At the beginning, Christ 
was hardly recognized as a Prophet, and it is surprising that He 

^ The expression is a strong one : iaelaBri -raaa ^ -rSKu, Comp. the similar 
hyperbole at the arrival of the Ma^ : 6 /ScurcXeiH irapdxBri, xal jrwa 
'UpoadXvfjM lUT airrov (ii. 3). It was this city multitude which a few days 
later cried ' Crucify Him.' The multitude which cried ' Hosanna ' consisted 
largely of Galilean pilgrims. 


should thus have proclaimed Himself as the Son of God (Jn. ii. 
1 6) almost at the outset. But it is too much to say that **it is 
most improbable that Jesus could have succeeded in cleansing 
the Temple, if He had appeared there as an utterly unknown 
youth, with no following but one or two obscure friends." He 
had the conscience, not only of the bystanders, but of the 
offenders themselves, on His side, and there is nothing surprising 
in the impressive manner of the young Reformer carrying aU 
before it If the Synoptists' date is more probable than that of 
Jn., there is nothing incredible in the latter. Moreover, there is 
the certain fact that Jn. knew what the Synoptists had written, 
and that he deliberately dissented from them. If he is not 
inserting a cleansing which they had omitted, he is quietly 
correcting them. A slip of memory on either side is possible, 
and equally remarkable instances might be quoted. We must 
be content to leave both questions open. There may have been 
two cleansings ; and, if there was only . one, either Mk. or Jn. 
may be right. Drummond is decidedly for the Synoptists (7^ 
Character and Authorship of the Fourth Gospel^ P- 6i); Sanday 
is inclined to prefer S. John (The Criticism of the Fourth Gospel^ 
p. 149); so also Wright, Synopsis of the Gospels^ p. 113. Salmon 
thinks that we are at liberty to believe " that our Lord made His 
first protest against Temple profanation on an earlier visit to the 
sacred House, and that after an absence of a year or more, 
coming back with a number of Galilean disciples. He enforced 
His requirements more vigorously" (Human Element^ p. 433). 
J. Armitage Robinson points out that, "whatever t^e exact 
date may have been, the relative position of the incident is the 
same in S. John as in S. Mark. In either Gospel it forms the 
first public act of the ministry in Jerusalem, If it does not find 
an earlier place in S. Mark, it is because that Gospel records but 
one visit to Jerusalem. And we may further note that in both 
Gospels this startling action is followed by a challenge to declare 
by what authority our Lord so acts ; so that in Jerusalem the 
ultimate issue — His relation to God — is raised at the outset" 
{The Historical Character of Stjohn^s Gospel^ p. 21). And the 
position of the cleansing of the Temple in Mk. determined the 
position of the incident in Mt. and Lk. In all four Gospels, 
therefore, it is " the first public act of the ministry in Jerusalem." 
Mk. tells us that Christ ' would not suffer that any man should 
carry a vessel through the Temple.' ^ Mt. omits this, but adds that 
' the blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple ; and He 

* For 'robbers* den' {aiHiKaiov Xj^rrCiv) comp. Jer. vii. 11. There is no 
reference to cattle raided by brii;ands, but simply to extortionate charges. 
Mt. has xoutTty Mk. Tcrwijifore, Lk. iiroi-ii<raT€, In ver. 14 there may be a 
reference to the healing of the man bom blind. 


healed them.' Lk. omits both, but states that * He was teaching 
daily in the Temple.' Elsewhere we have seen that Mt prefers 
to mention healing rather than teaching : e.g. xiv. 14 = Mk. vi. 34, 
xix. 2 = Mk. X. I. The case of the man ^ lame from his mother's 
womb ' who was laid daily at the Beautiful door of the Temple 
(Acts iii. 2), shows that there would be likely to be lame and 
blind persons in and near the Temple hoping for alms, and on 
these Jesus would have compassion. The repetition of the phrase 
Mn the Temple' in these verses (12-15) is to be noted; the 
Evangelist seems to wish to emphasize the scene. All these 
incidents connected with the great crisis in the career of the 
Messiah took place in the holiest part of the Holy City. 

The incident of the boys (iratScs not, as in xiv. 21, xviii. 3, 
xix.' 13, iroiSia) shouting * Hosanna ' in the Temple, and members 
of the Sanhedrin appealing to Christ to stop them (15, 16), has 
no parallel in Mk., but Lk. has something sunilar respecting the 
triumphal entry (xix. '39, 40).^ This seems to show that Mt 
and Lk. have some source or sources of information not used by 
Mk. * Dost Thou hear what these say ? ' probably means that 
He ought to feel that the shouting ought to be stopped, and that 
it is His place to do it He answers their question with another : 
have they never in their lives read the eighth Psalm? In the 
quotation the Septuagint is followed in substitutmg 'praise' 
(atvw) for the * strength ' of the Hebrew. For the purpose of 
defending the boys, 'praise 'was more suitable. 'The children 
of Zion were joyful in their King ' (Ps. cxlix. 2). These iraiScv 
were no doubt children who had heard the shouts at the triumphal 
entry, and at the sight of Jesus in the Temple began to repeat 
what they had heard. The whole is exceedingly natural That 
the hierarchy, who had for so long tolerated, or indeed encouraged, 
as profitable to themselves, the traffic in the Temple, should 
profess to be shocked at the shouting of the children, is as 
characteristic of them as the repetition of the Hosannas of the 
multitude is of the boys. The Evangelist treats their protest as 
genuine; it was not hypocritical assumption of anger. 'They 
were moved with indignation ' at what they regarded as a desecra- 
tion of the sacred precincts. Although they did not mention it 
in their protest, they seem to have resented Christ's healing in 
the Temple. Mt. says : ' When the chief priests and Scribes saw 
the wonderful things that He did^ and the children that were 
crying in the Temple • . . they were moved with indignation' 
(^vciucn^orav, as XX. 24, xxvi. 8). Our Lord does not stay to 

^ But here, as in ziL 23, Mt is the only EvangeUst who records the use of 
the expression, * Son of David/ which occurs nine times in this Gospel 
against six times in the rest of the N.T. It is not found in Jn. It is a 
Messianic title, and Jesus will not condemn its application to Himself. 



argue with them. He has defended the children from their 
unjust censure, and that done He leaves the murmurers and goes 
out of the Temple. 

A comparison of the two Gospels shows that Mt puts into 
two days what Mk. distributes over three days. See Allen. Mt 
and Lk. both put the cleansing of the Temple on the same day 
as the triumphal entry. Mk. puts the cleansing on the second 
day, after the cursing of the fig-tree. Mt makes the withering 
of the fig-tree follow immediately. In Mk. the withering is not 
noticed till the third day. Then follows teaching, which Mt 
places on the second day. 

XXT, 18-2d. The cursing of the Braggart Fig-Tree. 

Jesus had left the city as well as the Temple and went out to 
Bethany and passed the night there (i/vXto-^).^ The expression 
perhaps means no more than that He spent the night outside 
the city ; that He spent it in the open air need not be intended. 
At the Passover, multitudes had to pass the night outside the 
walls. Mk. says that at this time ' every evening He went forth 
out of the city * (xi. 19). 

Mt. greatly condenses Mk.'s narrative of the cursing of the 
fig-tree. He gives just what is necessary for the drawing of 
the lesson from Christ's action and nothing more. He does not 
even exhibit his usual interest in Peter. The expression of 
surprise at the speedy withering of the tree is attributed to the 
disciples generally, not to Peter in particular. Both Evangelists 
tell us that our Lord hungered: we are not to think that He 
expressed a desire to eat in order to teach by means of an acted 
parable. And He came to the tree expecting, on account of the 
profusion of leaves, to find fruit, although ' it was not the season 
of figs.'^ Evidently there was no employment of supernatural 
knowledge ; it was not till He came to the tree that * He found 
nothing thereon, but leaves only.' Then, as Mk. puts it, ' He 
answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit from thee henceforward 
for ever.' It was no hasty, impatient utterance, but a sentence 
deliberately pronounced, and immediately executed.' There is 
no contradiction here between the two narratives; but in Mt 
the withering is noticed by the disciples (apparently) at once, in 
Mk. not till the next day. Mt states, though Mk. does not, that 
the withering took place immediately. 

^ On the insertion of ixei see on xxvii. 47. Mt, who omits the mentloD 
of Bethany, zxi. I, is alone in mentioning it here (17). 

> < Fig-season ' seems to have been a common expression for summer. 
See Wetstein on Mk. xi. 13. 

* For ' immediately ' Mt. uses a word {Topaxp^fut) which is a favourite 
one with Lk., and is found nowhere else in the N.T. but io these two verses. 


Thus Mt, as elsewhere, enhances the marvellous character of 
the miracle, and that in two ways. He insists that the withering 
took place at once, and so rapidly that the disciples noticed that 
it followed immediately upon the uttering of the curse ; whereas, 
so far as the narrative in Mk. informs us, the withering might be 
a process that occupied some hours, and was not noticed by any 
one until the next morning. Secondly, instead of one disciple 
calling attention next morning to the condition of the tree, Mt 
says that the immediate withering of the tree excited the astonish- 
ment of the whole company of the disciples, who collectively 
expressed their amazement. In both narratives the fig-tree is 
condemned, not for being fruitless, but for being false. In the 
fig-tree, the fruit precedes the leaves. At that early season (April) 
the fig-tree would usually have neither ; but this tree, by putting 
forth a profusion of leaves, professed to have fruit ; and it had 
none. There was 'nothing thereon, but leaves only.* As a 
symbol of moral and religious character, the tree was a deceiver 
and a hypocrite ; and for this the Lord pronounces a symbolical 
judgment upon it See Hastings' DB,^ art ' Figs.' Holtzmann 
on Mk. xi. 13 treats the narrative as historical; on Mt xxi. 19 
he says that '* we have here the transformation of Lk. xiii. 6-9 into 
history, under the influence of Hos. ix. 10." 

The fig-tree represents the Holy City, rather than the nation 
as a whole.^ It is its profuse profession of zeal for God, and 
perhaps its enthusiastic welcome of the Messiah, which is con- 
demned as worthless, and worse than worthless, because it gives 
a promise of fruit which is not there : and its speedy destruc- 
tion will be the immediate consequence of these barren 

But this is not the lesson which Christ Himself draws from 
the speedy death of the tree and the disciples' amazement at it 
The application of the fate of the hypocritical fruit-tree to the 
fate of the hypocritical city was not of immediate importance, and 
time itself would make it plain to the disciples when Jerusalem 
was overthrown. There was a lesson that was far more urgent, 
and this yfz&— faith in the efficacy of prayer. The disciples had 
been astonished at the quickness with which Christ's prayer (that 
there might be no fruit from that tree henceforward for ever) had 
been answered ; and He assures them that, if they have the neces- 
sary trust in God's power and goodness, they will be able to do 
things still more astonishing, always provided that the things to 
be done are worthy of such means of accomplishment The 

^ Zahn, EinUUtaig in d. N, T, ii pp. '443, 445. We are reminded of 
Chzist's parable of the fie-tree (Lk. xiii. 6-9). The time of respite for 
Jerusalem is now past: 'Let there be no fmit from thee henceforward for 
ever.' The unfruitJful tree, spared for a while, is now to be cut down. 


execution of the sentence on the fig-tree was thus worthy, and 
hence its speedy fulfilment. Comp. xviL 20, 21, xviiL 19. 

' Rooting up mountains ' was a metaphor for something that 
is very difficult and our Lord may be using a figure of speech 
that was familiar to the disciples. But as He says ' this mountain/ 
which would mean the Mount of Olives, He may be thinking of 
Zech. xiv. 4 : ' The Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst 
thereof . . . and half of the mountain shall remove toward the 
north, and half of it toward the south.' From this and other 
instances, as the camel and the eye of the needle, the mote and 
the beam, plucking out the right eye and cutting off the right 
hand, we see that, in His popular teaching, our Lord was accus- 
tomed to use forcible, and what we might call extreme language. 
Comp. Lk. xvii. 6, where a tree takes the place of the mountain.^ 
In all three Gospels the marvellous transfer is from the land to 
the ' sea,' and the charge given in connexion with it is to ' have 
faith* St Paul points out that this faith, by itself, will not make 
a Christian ; there must be love also ^z Cor. xiii. 2). And the 
addition which Mk. makes here (xL 25) to some extent provides 
for this ; whoever prays for forgiveness must himself ' fozgive, if 
he have aught against any one.' This additional sa